US, Taiwan start formal trade talks under new initiative

TAIPEI, Aug. 18 (Reuters) – The United States and Taiwan have agreed to begin trade talks under a new initiative to reach agreements with “economically meaningful outcomes,” with a Taiwanese official saying China’s “economic coercion” would also being discussed.

Washington and Taipei unveiled the US-Taiwan Initiative for Trade in the 21st Century in June, just days after the Biden administration excluded the China-claimed island from its Asian-focused economic plan designed to counter China’s growing influence. to counteract. read more

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office said the two sides had “reached consensus on the negotiating mandate” and the first round of negotiations is expected to take place early this fall.

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“We intend to pursue an ambitious schedule for achieving quality commitments and meaningful outcomes across the 11 trade areas in the negotiating mandate that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st-century economy.” trade representative Sarah Bianchi said in a statement.

Taiwan’s top negotiator, John Deng, told reporters in Taipei on Thursday that he hoped talks could begin next month, and that this could one day lead to a free trade deal that the island has long been seeking with the United States. States.

The negotiating mandate released along with the announcement said the United States and Taiwan have established a robust agenda for discussions on issues such as trade facilitation, good regulatory practices and removing discriminatory barriers to trade.

It said the start of formal talks would be to reach agreements with “high quality commitments and economically meaningful results”.

Deng said one of the topics would be China’s economic coercion, a reference to actions Beijing is taking to block trade with countries it disputes, such as when Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital.

“His coercive economic targets are not just the United States or Taiwan, it has been done to many countries. The damage to the global economic and trade order is great,” he added.

Despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, Washington is keen to bolster support for Taiwan, especially as it faces increased political pressure from China to accept its sovereignty claims.

China has said it is “firmly” opposed to the new trade initiative between Taiwan and the US. read more

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Stephen Coates

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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