Taiwan and US restart trade talks despite China opposition

The United States and Taiwan on Wednesday restarted trade talks after five years as Washington moves to boost its ties with the island despite China’s objections.

The talks resumed after the two sides reconvened the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council, which under former US president Barack Obama was in charge of finding ways to deepen commercial relations.

The council last met in 2016 before the election of Donald Trump, who switched gears and focused on reaching a mega-deal with China, although relations between Washington and Beijing deteriorated sharply by the end of his turbulent term.

Wednesday’s talks “focused on enhancing the longstanding trade and investment relationship between the United States and Taiwan”, a statement released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative said.

Held virtually, they were co-led by top trade officials from Washington and Taipei.

Beijing considers self-governing, democratic Taiwan to be a territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary, and concerns have been rising in the United States that China may be increasingly willing to use its military might.

President Joe Biden has pressed ahead with improving ties with Taipei, including by revising convoluted rules that have blocked direct US dealings with Taiwan since Washington switched recognition to Beijing in 1979.

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