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Taiwan remains optimistic over trade deal with US

China in chilling warning to Taiwan over invasion

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President Tsai Ing-wen addressed a visiting group of US lawmakers on Thursday in which she stated his confidence over the potential deal. In June, Washington and Taipei agreed upon a US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade after President Biden’s administration excluded the Chinese-claimed island from its Asia-focused economic plan.

The economic plan is designed to tackle China’s growing influence and the following discussions between Washington and Taipei about the new initiative would see the US and Taiwan reach agreements with “economically meaningful outcomes”.

An official from Taiwan added that Taipei and Washington would also discuss China’s “economic coercion”.

The office of the US Trade Representative said that both sides “reached consensus on the negotiating mandate” and the first round of talks is expected to take place early in the Autumn.

President Tsai told the bilateral US lawmaker delegation on Thursday that Taiwan will increasingly collaborate with the US to generate closer trade and economic ties.

She said: “We have already announced that negotiations under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade will begin soon.

“We are confident that through this initiative, we can sign a high-standard trade agreement and advance bilateral trade development.”

Despite the absence of official diplomatic relations, Taiwan has pushed for a broad free trade deal with the US which is its most vital international supporter and foreign arms provider.

Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from Florida who sits on the House Armed Services Committee told Tsai that she supports such an agreement.

Ms Murphy said: “One of the most important things Congress can do right now is to deepen the economic relationship with Taiwan, and in particular, by pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement between the US and Taiwan.”

The US delegation is the latest group of senior officials from the United States to visit Taiwan since US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit.

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Pelosi’s visit came amid warnings from China to cancel and Pelosi’s subsequent snub to China as she landed in Taiwan infuriated Beijing.

China responded to her visit by running military drills near the island as a warning and a show of force.

Tsai thanked the US officials for their visit and added that “Taiwan will not back down”.

She added: “We will actively deepen our cooperation with democratic partners to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the region.”

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