US and Taiwan announce formal bilateral trade talks

Image credit: BBC

Weeks after a contentious visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the US has declared that formal trade negotiations with Taiwan will soon begin.

The Office of the US Trade Representative predicted that the first round of negotiations would start in “early September.”

Discussion points will include trade facilitation, digital trade, and anti-corruption principles. Ties between the US and China have become tenser since Ms Pelosi’s visit.

The US and Taiwan launched the Initiative on 21st Century Trade in June, and both parties now claim to have “reached an accord on the negotiating mandate.”

In a statement, Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi stated, “We plan to pursue an ambitious timeline that will help construct a fairer, more affluent, and resilient 21st-century economy.”

A total of nearly $106 billion (£88 billion) in trade was conducted between the US and Taiwan in 2020.

Following Ms Pelosi’s visit earlier in August, China began its largest-ever military drills around Taiwan.

According to the “One China policy,” the US acknowledges and upholds formal ties with China rather than the island of Taiwan, but it also maintains a “strong unofficial” relationship with Taiwan, continuing to sell the island arms so that it can defend itself.

The independent island is considered to be Beijing’s own outlaw region that requires fusion with the mainland.

Taiwan, a self-governing island, perceives itself as separate from the mainland.

Separately, the top US ambassador for East Asia Daniel Kritenbrink stated that the Taiwan Strait’s stability and peace are at risk due to Beijing’s “increasing coercion.”

In response to Beijing’s continuous efforts to destabilise it, he said, “We will continue to take calm but firm steps to protect peace and stability and to assist Taiwan in keeping with our long-standing policy.”