US, Taiwan to hold in-person trade talks in Taipei this month

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Taiwan and the United States will hold another round of in-person trade talks this month, the island’s government said on Thursday, discussions that China opposes.

The January 14-17 meetings will be held in Taipei under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade unveiled in June, days after the Biden administration excluded Taiwan from its Asia-focused economic plan designed to counter China’s growing influence.

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China, which views self-governing Taiwan as its own territory, has said it “firmly” opposes the new trade talks. Taiwan strongly rejects China’s sovereignty claims, and President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly said Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name.

Taiwan’s delegation will include deputy trade representative Yang Jen-ni and officials from several government agencies, Taiwan’s cabinet said in a statement on Thursday.

Assistant US Trade Representative Terry McCartin will lead the US delegation, the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy on the island, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In November, the two sides concluded two days of “productive” trade talks in New York, according to the office of the US Trade Representative.

Taiwan has long pushed for a broad free trade deal with the United States, its most important international backer and foreign arms supplier even in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

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