TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the United States Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) on Tuesday (Oct. 27) urged the U.S. to initiate bilateral trade talks, saying Taiwan is ready to work with whomever wins the American presidential elections next month.
Hsiao made the remark at a virtual seminar on economic prospects for the two sides organized by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, a Washington-based university research institute. She made the case for forging closer ties with Taiwan to ensure supply chain security from a geostrategic perspective, wrote CNA.
Taiwan boasts one of the world's largest chipmaking and electronics industries, providing a solid foundation on which to build closer supply ties in the areas of ICT technology and medical equipment, said the Taiwanese representative. The coronavirus pandemic has made such cooperation even more relevant, she added.
Hsiao believes a U.S.-Taiwan trade pact will lead to the inking of similar deals between Taiwan and regional trade partners. She expressed gratitude for the bipartisan support in the U.S. for expanded trade dealings with Taiwan, referring to a public letter to Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer signed by 50 senators calling for a comprehensive trade agreement with the country.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced in August the relaxation of restrictions on American beef and pork imports, which was widely interpreted as a move to clear the way for a bilateral trade deal. No concrete talks have been held yet, with Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) saying last week that Taiwan hopes to begin negotiations in two years, according to Liberty Times.