US and Taiwan to hold economic talks this month: Pompeo

Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue expected to begin on Nov. 20 in Washington

Krach visiting Taiwan in September

Krach visiting Taiwan in September (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Undersecretary of State Keith Krach will lead economic talks with Taiwan this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday (Nov. 10).

At a press conference, Pompeo said Krach would head the U.S.' Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue with Taiwan on Nov. 20. The secretary of state said the meeting would include talks on securing supply chains and 5G network security, Reuters reported.

“The dialogue signifies that our economic relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and a reliable partner, is strong and growing,” Pompeo added. Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) will lead Taiwan’s delegation to the U.S. for the talks, which will be held both in-person and virtually, according to Taiwan’s representative office in Washington.

In response to the announcement, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) tweeted out: “We look forward to expanding our strong economic ties with the U.S. at our first Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue. This is yet another milestone for our strategic collaboration, building closer Taiwan-U.S. partnership for a more prosperous world.”

Beijing has been angered by increasing American support for Taiwan, including high-level visits by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in August and Krach, the undersecretary of state for economic affairs, in September.

Analysts are speculating that the closer economic ties between Washington and Taipei will continue under the Biden administration. Douglas Paal, a former U.S. representative in Taipei, told Reuters there is “plenty to indicate continued warm relations between the Biden administration and Taiwan, judging from many long-time friends of Taiwan in Biden’s entourage.”

Taiwan has long been interested in signing a free trade agreement with the U.S., but Taipei’s restrictions on some American agricultural imports had always been an obstacle to further discussions.

In August, President Tsai got things moving by announcing an easing of restrictions on U.S. beef imports and pork containing ractopamine. The new rules are expected to take effect on Jan. 1.