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New Taiwan-U.S. trade initiative to challenge Chinese practices

Deals resulting from the initiative will not require approval by Congress

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Minister without Portfolio John Deng. 

Minister without Portfolio John Deng.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The announcement of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade poses a challenge to Chinese trade practices, The New York Times reported Wednesday (June 1).

Taiwan’s top trade envoy, Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi launched the project on Wednesday after Taiwan failed to be invited to the 14-member Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

The New York Times saw the new initiative as challenging several elements of China’s trade, such as clauses targeting the use of forced labor in supply chains and the non-market behavior of state enterprises.

Trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan had already been improving with Taipei loosening its restrictions on the import of American beef and pork, followed by the resumption of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks in 2021.

Global shortages of semiconductors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic raised Taiwan’s importance as a trading nation and supplier of vital technology to an even higher level.

Any deal between the two sides under the new initiative would not require the approval of Congress or amendments to existing U.S. laws, CNA reported. The talks would also be described as unofficial since they would be conducted through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taiwanese representative office in the U.S.

Wednesday’s announcement of the initiative has been widely welcomed in Taiwan as steps in the direction toward a bilateral trade agreement with Washington and potential membership in IPEF and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).