China “strongly opposes” US-Taiwan trade talks

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Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China opposes any formal exchange with Taiwan. (File)


China said on Thursday that it “strongly opposes” trade talks between the United States and Taiwan after announcing a new initiative to deepen economic ties between Taipei and Washington.

Beijing claims Taiwan as part of its territory and seeks to isolate it on the world stage, thwarting any attempt to recognize self-governing democracy as an independent nation.

Gao Feng, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, said, “China has always opposed any formal exchange between any country and China’s Taiwan region, including negotiating and signing any economic and trade agreement with a sovereign monetary and official nature.”

Washington is trying to strengthen its influence in the region in order to deal with Beijing, and US President Joe Biden is under pressure from US lawmakers to deepen ties with Taiwan.

The talks announced on Wednesday – the “US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade” – are based on a trade agreement announced last week between the United States and 12 Asian economies, which excluded Taiwan.

As with previous trade agreements, negotiations with Taiwan will not involve tariffs or market access – the items will require congressional approval, U.S. officials say.

In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative said that “both sides will work at a pace … to create an ambitious roadmap for negotiations to reach an agreement with high-quality commitments and economically meaningful results.”

‘Historical Progress’

John Deng, Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator, said the talks “would open up more space for economic cooperation.”

“We can say this is a historic development,” he told a news conference in Taipei.

Deputy USTR Sarah Bianchi and Deng met on Wednesday to launch the new initiative.

The trade body said it was “intended to deepen economic and trade relations, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values ​​and develop a strong way to promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses.”

The first meeting of the initiative will be held in Washington in late June, and will cover tariff procedures and regulations, including rules on agribusiness, labor rights and the fight against “harmful non-market policies.”

Another administrative official said the goal was to create a “high-stakes, binding agreement” but did not give a deadline for reaching an agreement.

Taiwan is the 10th largest export market for the United States, as well as a vital source of semiconductors, including some of the most advanced and smallest microchips.

The global shortage of semiconductors is hitting industries that rely on them from cars to smartphones and pushing up inflation.

A Taiwanese government spokesman on Wednesday emphasized the island’s “significant role” in semiconductor supply lines.

“In light of the growing trade conflict between China and the United States, and the global economy from the Kovid epidemic … the US government understands the need to strengthen economic and political ties with Taiwan and ensure the security of the supply chain to ensure stability,” Lo Ping-cheng added. Has done.

The US Department of Commerce has initiated a separate dialogue with Taipei on technology and investment – the other two areas covered by the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework or IPEF.

‘Strong’ relationships

Taiwan is a rare bipartisan issue in Washington, and a cross-party group of 52 senators last week urged Biden to include the island in the IPEF, which accounts for about 40 percent of the world economy.

They argued in a letter to Biden that the release of a key trading partner would “allow the Chinese government to claim that the international community does not actually support a meaningful engagement with Taiwan.”

A senior official said there was still time to involve Taiwan in that effort.

“We did not include Taiwan in the initial launch. However, going forward, we would like to adopt a flexible and adaptive approach to IPEF participation,” the official told reporters.

The official reiterated Washington’s “long-standing one-China policy,” but said the Biden administration also maintains a strong informal relationship with Taiwan and is committed to … deepening it.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s increasingly aggressive stance on the island has partially fueled bipartisan support for Taiwan.

On Monday, China made the second-largest intrusion into Taiwan’s air defense zone this year, with Taipei reporting that 30 aircraft entered the area.

So far in 2022, there have been 465 reported intrusions into Taiwan, an increase of about 50 percent over the same period last year, according to an AFP database.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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