You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

US, Taiwan to resume in-person trade talks next week in Taipei

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 04/01/2023 Orange Wang
  • Eleven topics have been highlighted for continuing discussion, after the delegations met in November in New York
  • Hopes are expressed that an agreement might be reached by the end of the year

The United States will send a delegation to Taiwan next week to continue talks on a bilateral trade framework that is part of efforts to reduce US economic dependence on China.

Terry McCartin, assistant US trade representative for China affairs, will lead a group of trade officials and representatives from other US agencies to Taipei from January 14-17 for negotiations on the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced on Wednesday.

The trip - a rare visit of US executive branch officials to Taiwan since President Joe Biden took office - will mark the second round of face-to-face talks on the trade initiative and the first held on the island. Washington and Taipei agreed to the talks in June.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Taiwan and the United States do not have formal diplomatic relations so the negotiations will take place under the auspices of the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington's de facto embassy on the self-ruled island, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington.

US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., during a visit to the TSMC facility under construction in Arizona December 6. Photo: Bloomberg © Provided by South China Morning Post US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Mark Liu, chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., during a visit to the TSMC facility under construction in Arizona December 6. Photo: Bloomberg

Yang Jen-ni, Taiwan's deputy trade representative, will lead a negotiating team that includes officials from more than a dozen departments, according to the Taiwanese government.

Taipei said it hoped the talks would strengthen the island's overall competitiveness, expand its bilateral trade and investment with the US, improve its outward connections and fortify its market economy system. Still, it made clear that the agenda for next week's round has not been confirmed since both parties' working teams are still conducting virtual meetings on some issues.

Next week's negotiations will follow the trade teams' in-person talks two months ago in New York.

Among the 11 areas highlighted for continuing discussion are anticorruption efforts, digital trade, standards, state-owned enterprises and non-market policies and practices.

US, Taiwan finish round of trade talks, agree to keep discussing 11 topics

Taiwan's top negotiator, John Deng, said last month that the January talks were expected to focus on one or two of the 11 areas, with hopes of an agreement by the end of the year, according to Taiwanese news media.

The two-month interval between the negotiating sessions underscored the seriousness of this initiative, said Wendy Cutler, a vice-president at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

"If there is a real commitment to conclude the talks this year, we should expect an intensive meeting schedule this year," said Cutler, a former acting deputy US trade representative.

"These talks have the potential to help shape some of the IPEF [Indo-Pacific Economic Framework] outcomes given the overlap of subject matter in such areas as supply chains, digital trade and trade facilitation."

'Start small' China, US urged as Biden ponders Trump-era tariff rollback

The trade initiative is viewed as running parallel to, and replicating in scope, the Indo-Pacific framework that Biden launched in May with a similar goal of countering Beijing's growing trade and supply chain influence in the region.

Taiwan has stood out in the wake of a fierce hi-tech war between Washington and Beijing as it produces the vast majority of the world's most advanced semiconductors.

Last month, the Hsinchu-headquartered Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company - the world's leading producer of advanced computer chips - announced an expanded US$40 billion investment at its US production hub in Arizona.

Beijing has expressed opposition to the trade initiative between Taipei and Washington, including any agreement of a sovereign or official nature. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory.

Few countries, including the US, recognise the island as an independent state. Under US policy, Washington does not recognise Beijing's claim of sovereignty over Taiwan but "acknowledges" that the claim exists.

More Articles from SCMP

China expands Shenhai-1 gas field in South China Sea with eye on Greater Bay Area energy transition

Philippines’ bid to deepen China ties not likely to raise alarm bells in US: analysts

HSBC Asset Management to add team focused on green energy infrastructure

US-China partnership in key IT equipment joint venture draws to end after two decades, as Hewlett Packard walks away

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (, the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon