US, Taiwan set date to restart trade and investment talks
TAIPEI — The United States will restart trade and investment talks with Taiwan next week with the aim of bringing Washington and Taipei closer together, which is also likely to irritate Beijing.
The de facto United States embassy in Taipei, the American Institute of Taiwan, said on Friday that its director, Brent Christensen, and Taiwan’s representative in the United States, Bi-Khim Hsiao, would convene a meeting by video conference on Wednesday. with participants from the US Office. Taiwan sales representative and trade office.
An announcement was expected after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month that Washington plans to engage with Taiwan on trade soon, without sharing a timeline.
The two sides will engage in a trade and investment framework first signed in 1994. Such agreements create the basis for recurring dialogue on trade issues and sometimes serve as a precursor to free trade agreements. in its own right. Taipei and Washington met for the last time in this setting in 2016.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Over the past year, the US State Department has sponsored lower-level discussions on closer economic and trade relations, helping to lay the groundwork for more serious discussions. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, keen on closer engagement with the United States, relaxed the ban on imports of U.S. beef and pork in a bid to spur talks that she hoped would lead to a comprehensive bilateral trade agreement similar to those the United States has concluded with major economic partners such as Canada and Mexico.
Former President Donald Trump’s US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has refused to launch trade talks with Taiwan, in part because he wanted to preserve the Trump administration’s trade cooperation framework with Beijing, people say close to the file.
The resumption of talks under President Biden is the latest indication of the new US administration’s intention to continue cultivating ties with Taiwan. Recently, the United States shipped 2.5 million doses of the vaccine to Taiwan, providing much-needed help to the island as it battles a spike in national Covid-19 cases. Only a fraction of Taiwan’s 24 million people have received vaccines.
The Taiwan Affairs Bureau and China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent out after hours on Friday.
The Chinese government opposes any form of official exchange between the United States and Taiwan and has opposed trade negotiations as well as American vaccines. Beijing regards the democratically self-governing island as part of Chinese territory and has pledged to use military force if necessary to gain control of the island.
Beijing last week sent 28 military jets into airspace near Taiwan – the highest number of such sorties reported in a single day – after Group of Seven leaders issued a statement expressing a unified position on the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
The United States is Taiwan’s second largest trading partner. Taiwan is the world’s largest supplier of advanced semiconductors, exporting billions of dollars in chips and computer and telecommunications equipment to the United States last year.
The United States has not had an embassy in Taiwan since it agreed to degrade relations with Taipei more than 40 years ago, a condition posed by Beijing for formal diplomatic relations. He created a private company made up of diplomats to manage relations with the island instead.
Write to Chao Deng at [email protected]
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Appeared in the print edition of June 26, 2021 under the title “Taiwan, US Trade Negotiations Ready to Begin”.