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US and Taiwan start trade negotiations

The Biden administration is likely to begin trade and investment negotiations with Taiwan, develop relations between the United States and Taipei, and increase friction with the island’s nemesis, Beijing.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the House of Representatives on Monday about plans for trade negotiations. In response to a question from Congressman Andy Barr (Republican, Kentucky) at a virtual hearing, Blinken said, “We are discussing some framework agreement with Taiwan.

Blinken refused to reveal the details and asked US trade representative Katherine Tai, who had not attended the hearing, for questions about the details. “We have no meetings to announce at this time, but it is important to strengthen our ties with Taiwan,” said a spokesman for Mr. Thai’s office.

Taiwan has long been the ignition point of the United States and China, but its technology and military power have come to the forefront of attention under the Biden administration. The WSJ will visit three locations on the island and explain how both superpowers can determine Taiwan’s future. Photo: Wally Santana / AP

The latest efforts will restore the dormant trade and investment framework. This arrangement is not as comprehensive as the free trade agreements that the United States has with Canada, Mexico and other major economic partners. Taiwan Calling for closer involvement in economic issues over the years, last year the State Department sponsored low-level discussions on closer economic and business relations.

U.S. ties with its Cold War ally, Taiwan, are lightning rods of trust between Washington and Beijing that see Taiwan as a secession zone and vow to use military force to annex Taiwan as needed. is there.

Asked about trade negotiations with Taiwan, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said the United States “stops all forms of formal exchange and contact with Taiwan and strengthens relations with the Taiwanese region in a substantive way. Should be stopped. ” A spokesman called on Washington to comply with a decades-long agreement with Beijing, which promises that the United States will maintain only formal relations as a condition of formal relations with China.

The Trump administration has strengthened its ties with Taiwan as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated over the past two years, and the Biden administration is promoting it.Released last week Vaccine distribution plan This included Taiwan, where three US senators visited the island over the weekend, emphasizing vaccine cooperation.

“Sometimes I’m disappointed [in Taiwan] Despite solid support from both Democratic and Republican governments in the areas of defense and diplomacy, no progress has been made in trade, “said Bonnie Glazer, director of Asian programs at the German Marshall Foundation.

Taiwan is the United States’ major semiconductor supplier, importing $ 7 billion in chips and $ 20 billion in other computer and telecommunications equipment from the United States last year. Total import value of $ 60 billionAccording to the Census Bureau, US exports to the island will double.

Taipei market last month. The Biden administration plans to support the supply of the new coronavirus vaccine to Taiwan and other countries.


Photo:

Billy HC Quoc / Bloomberg News

The Biden administration has prioritized securing a supply chain for key technologies, and the new trade agreement will support its efforts, especially given China’s dominance in manufacturing, with economic and other pressures from Beijing. May strengthen the underlying Taiwan.

“I want to talk about supply chain security and technology,” said Bikim Xiao, the de facto ambassador from Taiwan to the United States. “Resuming negotiations as soon as possible is an important part of that,” she pointed out Beijing’s “economic coercion” in the region.

Last year, trying to spur negotiations with the Trump administration Taiwan relaxes immigration ban Aside from the long-standing controversy over the use of feed additives by American farmers on American beef and pork imports. At the time, US trade representative Robert Lighthizer refused to start trade talks with Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter.

Taiwan’s President TT and the Democratic Progressive Party faced criticism from civil society groups and local pig farmers. In late August, Taiwan will hold a referendum asking whether it opposes the import of pork containing the additive ractopamine, which has been shown to cause animal rigidity, cause of death and death. Polls show that the majority of voters are in favor of reapplying the restrictions.

The referendum is not legally binding, but will put significant political pressure on Mr but TT. The approval rating has dropped In the recent surge in Covid-19, power shortages and other recessions, political analysts say.

“Ideally, the Democratic Progressive Party wants to get something as soon as possible so that it can show that it’s all worth it,” said a visiting scholar at National Taiwan University. Lev Nackman said.

The United States and Taiwan signed the first trade and investment framework agreement in 1994. Such agreements lay the foundation for repeated dialogue on trade issues and sometimes lead to full-scale free trade agreements.

US and Taiwanese officials met irregularly under the agreement to resolve trade issues, meeting 10 times over a 27-year period. The last session was held in October 2016.

Andrew Wyregala, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, said, “We hope that trade and investment negotiations will serve as a springboard. We will work with the United States and Taiwan on everything from cybersecurity to export control and technology transfer. He said there was a wide range of issues to be addressed, adding that the date of the trade talks was “significantly late.”

Write to William Mauldin william.mauldin@wsj.com And Josh Zumbrun Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com

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US and Taiwan start trade negotiations

Source link US and Taiwan start trade negotiations

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