US vows stronger Taiwan trade ties despite Beijing's call to cease all forms of official exchanges

Monday June 28 2021
Tai
By Agencies

Taipei. The White House said on Monday that the US would continue to strengthen its trade relationship with Taiwan ahead of bilateral trade talks today, despite Beijing's call on Washington to cease all forms of official exchanges with Taiwan.

"Our support for Taiwan is rock solid," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news conference in Washington when asked to comment about Beijing's pressure, reported Taipei Times.

"We're committed to the importance of the US-Taiwan trade and investment relationships, and we will continue to strengthen our trade relationship with Taiwan, which is why we are looking forward to the upcoming Trade and Investment Framework Agreement council meeting, which was recently announced," Psaki said.

After a hiatus of five years, the 11th Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) council meeting between the US and Taiwan is to take place via video conference on Wednesday.

Taiwan could also look to negotiate the right to manufacture US-developed COVID-19 vaccines, given the US has backed a WTO effort to waive intellectual property protections, said Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim, adding that the meeting would lay vital foundations for advancing bilateral cooperation on the economy and trade in her Facebook post.

Over the past decade, bilateral disagreements over pork and beef products had been the primary reason for the stagnation of the trade ties, she said.

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Citing the remarks of an official who had worked under former US president George W Bush, Hsiao said the Bush administration once mulled commencing trade talks with Taiwan while it was negotiating with South Korea but dropped the plan because Taiwan did not have the determination to resolve those disagreements at that time, reported Taipei Times.

Beijing's consistent stance on Taiwan is that it objects to any forms of official exchanges between Washington and Taipei, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said on June 11, one day after US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Minister Without Portfolio John Deng met via video-conference, reported Taipei Times.

Whether it was the "America first" policy of former US President Donald Trump or the "worker-centered" trade policy advocated by Tai, Taiwan had to take into account Washington's concerns so that it could make a breakthrough on bilateral trade and create win-win situations, added Hsiao.

Apart from certain issues that each side is concerned with, other areas of bilateral cooperation are climate action, the green economy, the digital economy and supply chain resilience, Hsiao said.

The supply chains include semiconductors, information and communications products, medicines and medical supplies, she said.

Hsiao said that she hopes that through the TIFA council meeting and the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue launched last year, Taiwan and the US would continue to deepen relations and build momentum toward the signing of a bilateral trade agreement. (ANI)