Taiwan President presses bilateral trade agreement with US

President Tsai Ing-wen met with a US State Department trade official on April 12

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President Tsai Ing-wen meets with David Meale, deputy assistant secretary of U.S. State Department for Trade Policy and Negotiations (Source: CNA)

President Tsai Ing-wen meets with David Meale, deputy assistant secretary of U.S. State Department for Trade Policy and Negotiations (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Friday (April 12) reaffirmed her administration’s position on pursing a bilateral trade agreement with the United States.

During a meeting with David Meale, a visiting U.S. State Department deputy assistant secretary, Tsai said such deal would further deepen the close relationship between the two nations.

“The signing of a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) has long been a priority for us,” Tsai told the U.S. official. “A BTA will render our economic, trade, and investment relations closer and even more robust,.”

Despite the lack of an official diplomatic relationship, trade ties between Taiwan and the United States have long been significant. The U.S. was the second largest trading partner of Taiwan in 2017, while Taiwan ranked the 11th largest trading partner of the United States in 2018.

“Bilateral trade grew by 11 percent to exceed US$76 billion last year," said Tsai. "That’s more trade than the U.S. does with Brazil or Australia.”

The President added that Taiwan is also willing to explore potential cooperation with the United States in promoting prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region.

Lauding the development of Taiwan’s technology industry as important for the global supply chain, Meale said the U.S. will continue to work with Taiwan to build technologies for the future based on mutual “economic relations” and “trust”.

Meale reiterated the U.S. commitment to Taiwan, emphasizing that there is still much room for progress in terms of bilateral economic ties.