US, Taiwan hold talks on strengthening economic ties

Elias Hubbard
November 22, 2020

The talks, under the auspices of a new Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, were held virtually and in person, led on the USA side by Undersecretary of State Keith Krach, who angered China with a visit to Taipei in September.

Future talks will help strengthen their economic relationship and "our shared commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and freedom", it added.

People join a protest to oppose the import of US pork containing ractopamine, an additive that enhances leanness in Taipei, Taiwan, November 22, 2020.

While welcomed in Washington, and removing a roadblock to a long sought after USA free trade deal for Taiwan, the KMT has strongly opposed the decision, tapping into public concern about food safety after several high-profile scandals in recent years.

President Tsai Ing-wen announced in August that the government would, from January 1, allow imports of USA pork containing ractopamine, an additive that enhances leanness but is banned in the European Union and China, as well as US beef more than 30 months old.

U.S. trade with Taiwan totaled an estimated $103.9 billion in 2019, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Trade Representative's office.

Taiwan's foreign minister voiced confidence on Saturday that the incoming government of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden would support a long sought-after bilateral trade agreement, following high level economic talks with the outgoing administration.

"The most important substance is for Taiwan and the U.S.to identify those specific areas for us to work on together and for us to make more concrete progress and to make concrete cooperation", he said.

The talks Friday were held partly in person in Washington, led by U.S. Undersecretary of State Keith Krach and Taiwanese minister without portfolio John Deng, with attendants from the American Institute in Taipei and the Taiwan government also joining in virtually.

China claims democratically run Taiwan as its own territory and reacted with fury when the US Health Secretary Alex Azar visited Taipei in August, followed by Krach in September, sending fighter jets near the island each time.

The Trump administration has been getting increasingly involved in Taiwan's security.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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