U.S. Stresses Taiwan Trade-Relationship Priority in First Talks

The U.S. and Taiwan’s trade chiefs held discussions Thursday, with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai emphasizing the importance of Washington’s trade and investment relationship with Taipei.

In the virtual meeting with her Taiwanese counterpart, John Deng, Tai expressed the U.S.’s interest in working together on issues of common concern in multilateral organizations, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in an emailed statement.

U.S. Stresses Taiwan Trade-Relationship Priority in First Talks

Tai, who was appointed in March, also discussed the Biden administration’s worker-centered trade policy with Deng, it said.

Taiwan’s easing limits on imports of U.S. meat containing an additive showed the government’s determination to promote globalization and deepen bilateral economic and trade ties with the U.S., Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations said in a statement.

The government of President Tsai Ing-wen has made clear that it wants to sign trade agreements with various nations including the U.S., and eased limits on imports of meat containing an additive from January this year, removing one of the main sources of trade friction.

The two sides signed a so-called Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA, in 1994 although the last meeting was in October 2016. In the last days of the Trump administration there was an agreement to hold annual economic talks for five years, and there is strong support in the U.S. congress for talks with Taiwan.

Both sides agreed to resume the 11th TIFA meeting in coming weeks, according to Taiwan’s statement. It added that they will continue to cooperate under the World Trade Organization and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation frameworks.

China opposes any official contact between the U.S. and Taiwan, which it regards as part of its territory. Any negotiations or discussions will inevitably be linked with U.S.-China relations, and could increase the tensions between the two.

A 1979 law commits the U.S. to support the military self-defense of Taiwan, despite Washington’s decision to switch recognition to Beijing from the Republic of China government in Taipei. China claims the democratically run island as its territory, even though the People’s Republic has never controlled Taiwan.

The value of U.S. goods imports from Taiwan, a major chip exporter, surged to a record $6.2 billion in April amid a shortage of semiconductors globally.

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