Taiwan ‘confident’ over trade deal with new US government under President-elect Joe Biden

Taiwan’s foreign minister voiced confidence on Saturday that the incoming government of US President-elect Joe Biden would support a long sought-after bilateral trade agreement, following high level economic talks with the outgoing administration.

In August, Taiwan eased restrictions on imports of US pork and beef, which had been a stumbling block to free trade talks.

Speaking in Taipei after Taiwan-US economic talks, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu noted the cross-aisle support for Taiwan’s meat decision, as well as October’s call by 50 US senators from both parties for President Donald Trump’s administration to begin negotiating a trade deal with the island.

“I think bipartisan support on Capitol Hill is still very strong, and I think that kind of support for a Taiwan-US BTA will continue into the new administration,” Wu said.

In a nod to tech-heavyweight Taiwan’s importance as a global chip maker for the likes of Apple Inc, Taiwan’s government said both sides “confirmed that strategic cooperation on the semiconductor industry is a mutual priority”.

The world’s biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, announced plans this year for a $12 billion semiconductor factory in Arizona, a move US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said would increase US economic independence from China.

The US State Department said in a statement on the talks that the two agreed to negotiate a science and technology agreement, and that future talks would help strengthen their economic relationship and “our shared commitment to free markets, entrepreneurship, and freedom”.

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