2nd June 2023 – (Hong Kong) The United States and Taiwan signed a trade deal on 1st June aimed at strengthening economic relations between the two sides, despite China’s objections. The US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade seeks to enhance trade by simplifying customs checks, improving regulatory procedures, and establishing anti-corruption measures between the US and Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.
While Washington and Taipei do not have official diplomatic relations, they maintain unofficial ties through the American Institute in Taiwan. The first agreement under the latest initiative was signed by representatives of the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
The pact is “intended to strengthen and deepen the economic and trade relationship” between both sides, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s press office. The US remains a key ally and arms supplier to Taiwan and is the island’s second-largest trade partner. However, Beijing opposes any diplomatic relations between Taiwan and other governments, considering the self-ruled island its own territory.
China warned Washington against signing any pact “with connotations of sovereignty or of an official nature with China’s Taiwan region.” Beijing has increased military drills in the seas around the island and worked to cut off its official ties with countries worldwide. The issue prompts rare bipartisan agreement in the U.S., with politicians including Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his Democratic predecessor Nancy Pelosi publicly meeting with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen.