Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu unveils the new passport design in Taipei, Taiwan. File/Reuters
Taiwan’s foreign minister voiced confidence on Saturday that the incoming government of US President-elect Joe Biden would support a long sought-after bilateral trade agreement, following high level economic talks with the outgoing administration.
Last month, Frank Jannuzi, a key Biden aide when the president-elect was in Congress, wrote that Washington should prioritise free trade negotiations with Taiwan to encourage others, including Britain, the European Union and Japan, to follow suit.
In August, Taiwan eased restrictions on imports of US pork and beef, which had been a stumbling block to free trade talks.
Speaking in Taipei after Taiwan-US economic talks, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu noted the cross-aisle support for Taiwan’s meat decision, as well as October’s call by 50 US senators from both parties for President Donald Trump’s administration to begin negotiating a trade deal with the island.
“I think bipartisan support on Capitol Hill is still very strong, and I think that kind of support for a Taiwan-US BTA will continue into the new administration,” Wu said.
Friday’s talks, under the auspices of a new Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, were not related to a possible trade deal, instead focusing on areas including science and technology, supply chain restructuring and 5G networks.
In a nod to tech-heavyweight Taiwan’s importance as a global chip maker for the likes of Apple Inc, Taiwan’s government said both sides “confirmed that strategic cooperation on the semiconductor industry is a mutual priority.”
The world’s biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, announced plans this year for a $12 billion semiconductor factory in Arizona, a move US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said would increase US economic independence from China.
The US State Department said in a statement on the talks that the two agreed to negotiate a science and technology agreement, and that future talks would help strengthen their economic relationship and “our shared commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and freedom.”
The dialogue, held virtually and in person in Washington, is part of increased US engagement with Taipei by the Trump administration which has angered Beijing. China claims the democratic island as its sovereign territory.
Police in New York had to break up fights between supporters and opponents of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday during a visit to the United States which will likely infuriate Beijing.
The US military said it sent two Navy warships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday as the Pentagon increases the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.
President Donald Trump on Thursday for the first time linked a dispute over telecom giant Huawei, which he views as a threat to American security, with a deal to resolve the US-China trade war.
A former friend of Ivanka’s anonymously told Vanity Fair that she would face being shunned by Manhattan’s social elite if she tried to return to the city.
“Prosecution decisions must be fair and impartial, and the rights and freedoms of people in Hong Kong must be upheld,” said Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab.
A territorial row over the islands, which the Soviets seized at the end of World War Two, has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty. Japan calls the islands the Northern Territories and Russia calls them the Kurils.