Taiwan is under no illusions it can quickly sign a long hoped for free trade deal with the United States but feels when the time is right “success will flow naturally”, the island’s chief trade negotiator said on Friday. Taiwan has long sought a bilateral trade deal with the United States, the island’s most important international backer and supplier of arms. Last year, the government lifted a ban on the import of pork containing a leanness-enhancing additive called ractopamine, removing a major stumbling block to an agreement with Washington. But US President Joe Biden has only just assumed office, and his nominee for treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, told US lawmakers this week they would prioritise domestic investment in workers and infrastructure before embarking on any new free-trade agreements. Minister without portfolio John Deng, who leads trade talks, said Taipei well knew that for the United States to sign free-trade agreements with anyone was a major issue, especially with a new government in office. “We absolutely understand US politics and we do not have any unrealistic fantasies,” he said. “The new government has its priorities and of course we need to understand that.” But Deng said he was confident a deal would happen eventually, pointing to the pork decision and support for an agreement among US lawmakers. “We have always thought that this a matter of ‘when conditions are right, success will flow naturally’.” Taiwan’s exclusion from global forums must end: outgoing US envoy Kelly Craft Trade-dependent Taiwan is also angling to join the revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, signed in 2018, without the United States . “This is a very high priority project for us. But we also understand this involves lots of other countries, 11 of them, so we’re not willing to set a timetable or a target,” Deng said. While Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, many countries are wary of signing trade deals with the tech powerhouse fearing objections from Beijing, though Taiwan does have free-trade deals with Singapore and New Zealand. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen told Britain’s newly appointed de facto ambassador in Taipei this week she hoped they could begin talks on a free-trade or bilateral investment agreement. Britain has been looking for such deals since leaving the European Union. “There have been no negotiations but the British side knows Taiwan’s interest,” Deng said, when asked about the chances of a deal with Britain.