The US will sign a trade agreement with Taiwan that improves its resistance to economic coercion from China

File photo: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen meets visiting US lawmakers in Taipei on April 8, 2023 (REUTERS) (TAIWAN PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE /)

The Joe Biden government in the United States announced this Thursday that it concluded negotiations with Taiwan with a view to signing a trade agreement, less than a year after launching this initiative that was strongly criticized by China.

“This achievement represents an important stage in the strengthening of economic relations between the United States and Taiwan,” said the US Trade Representative (USTR), Katherine Tai, in a statement, noting that the two partners will seek to achieve “a strong and high-level trade agreement that addresses the pressing economic challenges of the 21st century.”

The United States and Taiwan launched bilateral talks in June 2022, which were questioned by Beijing.

This agreement with the US, which should be signed in the coming weeks, “will deepen the trade association and improve trade flows” between the two parties “to promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and companies”, the USTR added.

File photo: US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican, shakes hands with Taiwan's president at an event in California on April 5, 2023 (AP Photo/Ringo HW Chiu)
File photo: US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican, shakes hands with Taiwan’s president at an event in California on April 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Ringo HW Chiu) (Ringo HW Chiu/)

China considers the island one of its provinces and refuses to establish official relations with other countries. The situation around Taiwan has become increasingly tense after the military maneuvers carried out by Beijing around the island since last year and during 2023.

Supporters of the deal say it will open up the Chinese-claimed island to more US exports and improve its resistance to economic coercion from Beijing.

“Beijing is likely to complain about this announcement, but its words will fall on deaf ears in Washington as talks continue” with Taipei, said Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and a former US trade negotiator.

Relations between the United States and China – the world’s two largest economies – have deteriorated in recent years. Washington accuses Beijing of predatory economic practices and has criticized its crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong and the Muslim region of Xinjiang, as well as its harassment of neighbors, including Taiwan, over land claims.

The United States is Taiwan’s largest trading partner., which joined the World Trade Organization in 2002 and is the world’s largest producer of computer chips. Last year, Washington bought $105 billion worth of goods and services from Taipei, making it the 10th largest source of US imports.

(With information from AFP, AP and Reuters)

Keep reading:

‘Bad Ideologies’: Beijing Disappears Books From Hong Kong Public Libraries

China’s loans push the world’s poorest countries to the brink of collapse

Big semiconductor makers team up with Japan to strengthen global chip supply chain