US and Taiwanese officials concluded four days of talks on trade on Tuesday as the two sides near a trade initiative that will likely anger Beijing.
The talks were held in Taipei, and the US delegation led by Terry McCartin, the assistant US trade representative for China affairs, marking a rare visit to the island by an official in President Biden’s Executive Office.
The US and Taiwan announced they were launching trade talks last year, and the meetings in Taiwan marked the second round of in-person negotiations. Beijing has warned against the initiative as it views such cooperation as an affront to the one-China policy.
In a readout of the talks, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said the two sides “exchanged views on proposed texts covering trade facilitation, anticorruption, small and medium-sized enterprises, good regulatory practices, and services domestic regulation.”
No deals were signed, but the officials agreed to continue negotiations. The USTR said they “reached consensus in a number of areas and pledged to maintain an ambitious negotiating schedule in the months ahead to continue this momentum.”
Analysts told The South China Morning Post that any trade deal between the US and Taiwan would be mainly symbolic and would risk angering China. “I think, for Taiwan, what they get is rather symbolic – like, ‘Look, I can talk with the US and sign some documents,” Huang Kwei-bo, a professor of diplomacy at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, told the Post.