The US and Taiwan agreed to boost trade ties, the first tangible results under an initiative announced last year that faces vehement opposition from Beijing.
The initial agreement under the US-Taiwan Trade Initiative, which was launched last June, will streamline customs, reduce wait times for trucks and vessels and improve regulation, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s office said.
The initiative isn’t a formal free-trade agreement and doesn’t address thorny issues such as tariffs, but it’s part of broader drive to deepen trade ties amid heightened tensions with China. The US has also been pushing to offer Taiwan a better tax deal to facilitate investment in semiconductors and other high-end technology in the US.
“This accomplishment represents an important step forward in strengthening the US-Taiwan economic relationship,” Tai said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing these negotiations and finalizing a robust and high-standard trade agreement that tackles pressing 21st century economic challenges.”
The Taiwan trade initiative was announced last June, weeks after President Joe Biden initiated the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for 13 other nations in the region. That deal was designed to counter China’s influence but didn’t include Taipei.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has opposed the trade talks, saying any move to formalize such ties is a change to the uneasy status quo around Taiwan. Washington’s relationship with Beijing has become even more strained over Taiwan, especially after a series of visits by high-level officials including then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year.
By Eric Martin / Bloomberg