Deputy US Trade Representative Karan Bhatia yesterday started two days of trade talks with Taiwan despite a transit spat that has marred relations between the island and its biggest informal ally and arms supplier. Mr Bhatia, who arrived in Taipei on Wednesday night and is the most senior US official to visit the island in six years, held talks with his Taiwanese counterpart, Vice-Economics Minister Chen Ruey-long, on trade and other issues, including pharmaceuticals, intellectual property rights and the agricultural sector, US and Taiwanese officials said. They said the talks were held under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement signed by the two sides in 1994 to resolve bilateral trade issues and enhance economic co-operation. The two sides would announce the result of the talks today, they added. Mr Bhatia's visit came after a row between Taipei and Washington over a transit request by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian. Upset by what Washington saw as repeated breaches of trust and promotion of independence for Taiwan that has provoked Beijing, the US administration rejected a request by Mr Chen to transit in New York or San Francisco during his visit to Latin America.