As ties between Washington and Beijing have become more tense, the US and Taiwan decided on Wednesday to start formal trade and investment discussions.
The conversations will start in the early fall and are a result of a collaborative initiative that was announced in June. They are intended to increase economic participation in areas such as digital trade, agriculture, and the environment.
The sides achieved "consensus on the negotiating mandate," the Biden administration announced late on Wednesday. According to deputy US trade representative Sarah Bianchi, the program would "deepen our trade and investment relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses."
She stated that the goal of the talks between Taipei and Washington was to "pursue an ambitious schedule."
Days after unveiling the regional Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which omitted Taiwan in part due to several south-east Asian countries' concerns about offending China, which asserts sovereignty over the territory, the US announced the "US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade."
The announcement on Wednesday falls short of Taiwan's expectations for a bilateral free trade agreement. Taiwanese authorities have stated that the talks are crucial to maintaining trade relations and that they still have hope of negotiating an agreement of this nature in the future.
The discussions are likely to exacerbate China's opposition to US efforts to strengthen ties with Taiwan and its accusations that the US is abandoning its "one China" policy, which calls for Washington to recognize Beijing as the only government of China while only acknowledging Beijing's position that Taiwan is a part of China, are likely to escalate tensions with Beijing.
Following Pelosi's visit and another this week by a second congressional delegation, China has intensified its efforts to isolate Taiwan, prompting concerns that it is attempting to impose a new status quo and discourage Western politicians from engaging with Taipei.
According to data from 2020 provided by the US Trade Representative Office, Taiwan is the ninth-largest commercial partner of the US. It is among the biggest suppliers of semiconductors and other electronic parts in the world.
By fLEXI tEAM