Wednesday, December 07, 2022

After the visits: US and Taiwan announce formal trade talks

IChina’s already strained relations with the US and Taiwan are at risk of renewed outrage. The governments of Washington and Taipei announced on Thursday that they intend to begin formal trade talks as part of a new initiative. The office of US Trade Representative Catherine Tai said the first round is due in “early fall”. Both sides wanted to deepen trade and investment ties.

The Communist leadership in Beijing considers Taiwan only as part of the People’s Republic and rejects all forms of official contacts of Taipei with other countries. In view of the initial trade talks between Taiwan and the United States, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also made clear its opposition to any agreements that were of an official nature and would affect China’s sovereignty.

Tensions with China escalated recently after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. It was the highest ranking trip to the United States in a quarter century. Pelosi is the third largest in the United States after the President and the Vice President. Soon after, another delegation from the US Congress traveled to Taipei. Beijing spoke of “provocation”.

In response, Beijing began large-scale maneuvers around the Democratic Island Republic. A naval and air blockade, a possible conquest and other combat operations were practiced in China’s largest military demonstration in decades. Beijing is threatening to take the 23 million island by force, while Taiwan claims independence. In return, the US has committed itself to Taiwan’s defense capability.

Washington and Taipei had already submitted a US-Taiwan initiative on trade in June. The talks are under the umbrella of informal representations from both sides: the American Institute (AIT) in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representation (TECRO) in Washington. “We plan to pursue an ambitious roadmap,” said the Office of Trade Representatives.

Taiwan wants to attract US investment

Related business priorities should be promoted based on shared values ​​and innovation and inclusive growth should be promoted. It should be about trade facilitation, regulatory issues, the fight against corruption and more trade between small and medium-sized companies and agricultural commodities. Washington also noted the disadvantages of distorting competition, the abolition of digital trade, environmental and labor standards and practices.

Taiwan wants to strengthen its economic capabilities and attract more investment from the United States and other countries. The way should be paved for joining other trade agreements, as announced by the Office of Trade Negotiation (OTN) in Taipei. The Asia-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (CPTPP) was explicitly mentioned here.

In response to Pelosi’s visit, China halted imports of hundreds of agricultural products from Taiwan, as well as important mainland sand shipments to the island, to increase pressure on Taipei. “Through economic cooperation, Taiwan and the United States can work together to resist economic pressure from China,” cabinet spokesman Lou Ping-cheng said of the trade talks.

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