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U.S., Taiwan Sign Pact to Monitor Drift-Net Fishing

From Associated Press

The United States and Taiwan initialed a tentative North Pacific drift-net agreement Friday just hours after the Taiwanese were given 60 days to sign and implement such a pact or face possible American trade sanctions on their fishery products.

The agreement allows for the “high seas boarding” of Taiwanese drift-net vessels suspected of illegally catching U.S. salmon and requires the placement of satellite transponders on all of the 166 Taiwanese ships involved.

The United States will use the transponders to keep track of the Taiwanese fleet, and U.S. observers will be allowed to board Taiwanese vessels to monitor their catch.

Under a 1987 law, Thursday was the deadline for reaching such monitoring and enforcement agreements. A 60-day time clock started running; if agreements are still not in force by the end of that period, the Bush Administration could impose an embargo or other trade sanctions on Taiwanese fishery products.

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State Department officials have said similar talks with South Korea may resume in July, but no definite date has been set. A previous round of talks with the Koreans in May failed to produce any progress.


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