The US launches initiatives to strengthen economic ties with Taiwan

Amid rising tensions with China, the Biden administration is forging closer economic ties with Taiwan in areas such as trade, supply chains and technology export controls.

The Office of the US Trade Representative on Wednesday unveiled a new pact with Taipei to boost bilateral trade in areas including digital trade, clean energy and labor rights. The two partners will also work together to address non-market practices and policies, including those carried out by state-owned companies, an issue that is Washington’s main complaint about China’s trade policies.

Separately, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is launching a separate dialogue with Taiwan to address technology trade and investment, citing Taiwan’s importance as a leading supplier of advanced semiconductors. The export controls of sensitive technologies will also be addressed by this initiative, senior administration officials said.

Taiwan was not invited to join a new economic cooperation pact with a dozen Asia-Pacific countries and the US when it was launched by President Biden last week, as some participants feared it could anger Beijing, which owns the self-governing island as such claims its territory. Government officials say the pact unveiled on Wednesday shows the US commitment to strengthen ties with Taiwan. US trade with Taiwan has increased significantly in the wake of tariffs on Chinese imports imposed by the former Trump administration.

The latest announcement could further strain Washington’s relationship with Beijing. During his visit to Tokyo last month, Mr Biden said so The US would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan — prompting a harsh reaction from Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, who said, “No forces, including the US, can stop the efforts of the Chinese people to reunite the nation.”

The announcement of new initiatives comes as the Biden administration increases economic engagement with Asia-Pacific nations to counter Chinese influence and complement Washington’s already strong military engagement in the region.

At the forefront of these efforts is the Introduction of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which aims to counter China’s influence through cooperation in areas such as supply chains, clean energy and digital standards. The group was formed with a dozen other nations including Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and seven countries in the 10-nation federation of Southeast Asian Nations. Fiji later joined.

Taiwan is at the center of growing concerns from U.S. officials over East Asia’s highly concentrated semiconductor production, an issue that has gained urgency amid the pandemic’s chip shortages, which have impacted manufacturing of everything from consumer electronics to vehicles Has. According to the White House supply chain report, 92% of the world’s supply of advanced semiconductors came from the island Taiwan semiconductor manufacturing Co in 2021.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-launches-initiatives-to-boost-economic-ties-with-taiwan-11654089970?rss=1&siteid=rss The US launches initiatives to strengthen economic ties with Taiwan

Brian Lowry

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