Taiwan and the United States will discuss supply chain security and digital trade in their first trade talks in five years, as the two countries seek to deepen economic ties in the face of growing tensions with China.
Negotiations are scheduled to start on Wednesday and will make both parties pay more attention to trade to match their efforts Strengthen security and political relations In the case of increasing pressure with Beijing. China claims that Taiwan is part of its territory and threatens that if Taipei resists reunification indefinitely, it will invade it.
“We hope to elevate our trade relationship to the next level of cooperation, a level suitable for the future,” John DengThe Taiwan Trade Representative told the British “Financial Times”. “We want to talk about supply chains, digital trade and trade facilitation.”
Washington’s decision to restart negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) marked a shift in the Trump administration, which prioritized reaching a limited trade agreement with Beijing.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan has been promoting bilateral trade agreements turn on The country sold beef and pork to the US beef and pork market last week, a step that Washington has long demanded.
Deng admitted that such an agreement may not be reached immediately. “BTA is our ideal, this is reality,” he said. “[The US] It will not be too soon to start negotiations on bilateral trade agreements with any country. But we can gradually pave the way. “
Sarah Bianchi, nominated as the deputy trade representative of the United States, said on Thursday that the re-engagement with Taiwan under Tifa’s leadership is an example of the Biden administration’s cooperation with allies to “respond to China’s growing challenges.”
“I don’t think the Trump administration has integrated business and strategic policies,” said Jeff Short of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank. “The Biden administration is clearly taking a more comprehensive approach to its relations with China and views Taiwan relations as a more critical one.”
The new talks follow an internal debate in Washington, which includes the State Department’s call for economic factors to be added to efforts to strengthen relations with Taipei.
According to four people familiar with the matter, the enthusiasm of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is not high, but Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, urged her office to initiate negotiations.
“Ambassador Dai and the Biden administration are committed to strengthening our economic and trade relations with Taiwan, and we look forward to discussing a series of issues at the Tifa meeting this week,” said the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The United States may focus on semiconductor supply chain security and digital trade, and urge Taipei to fulfill its promise to open the market to US pork.
The Cai government has done it small Encourage the public to accept American pork that may contain trace amounts of feed additive ractopamine. A referendum on US pork imports organized by Taiwan’s opposition is scheduled to be held in August.
Deng warned that the decision to oppose opening the market could derail the discussion. “Will the United States continue the Tifa negotiations and further deepen our trade relations? I don’t think they will—they will argue. If you can’t even handle these current issues, why should we discuss future issues with you?” He said .
“But we cannot continue to rely mainly on the single market, which is too threatening for Taiwan,” he added, referring to China.
Digital trade is one of the issues that both parties are concerned about, covering issues such as duty-free trade of digital products, data localization barriers, network security and privacy rules.
Former U.S. trade negotiator Wendy Cutler said that it is vital that the negotiations produce some joint initiatives, not just “commit to more negotiations and coordination” to effectively strengthen trade relations.
Cutler suggested that in the face of global chip shortages, the United States and Taiwan could actually cooperate in formulating a semiconductor supply chain.