Top US trade official discusses deeper ties with Taiwan

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Washington’s top trade official met Friday with her counterpart from Taiwan and reviewed efforts to strengthen trade and investment ties between the economies.

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Taiwan’s lead trade negotiator John Deng in Bangkok ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting.

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The officials discussed “the strength and durability of the economic relationship between the United States and Taiwan,” according to a statement from USTR.

And they “directed their teams to explore concrete ways to deepen the US-Taiwan trade and investment relationship and to meet again in the coming weeks to discuss the path forward.”

Such high-level meetings can stir up diplomatic tensions with China, which claims self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as its own territory.

The United States has increasingly voiced support for Taiwan’s role in international organizations, a step fiercely opposed by Beijing. All three economies are APEC members.

China’s authoritarian leaders have vowed to one day seize Taiwan, by force if necessary.

They have ramped up economic, military and diplomatic pressure on the island since the 2016 election of Tsai Ing-wen, who views Taiwan as a sovereign nation.

China often sends military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense zone to display displeasure.

Taiwan enjoys wide backing in the United States, which is required under domestic law to provide the island with weapons to defend itself.

The United States imported $87 billion in goods from Taiwan in 2021, more than half of which were big-ticket capital goods.

Read more: Taiwan says it cannot afford new US anti-submarine helicopters

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