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A U.S. business group wants Taiwan to start free trade talks "as soon as possible."

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - In an annual policy paper released on Wednesday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan said that the...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - In an annual policy paper released on Wednesday, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan said that the US and Taiwan should "urgently" start talking about a free trade agreement, with the goal of having a finished text ready for approval next year.

Taiwan has been pushing for this kind of deal for a long time. It would be a strong sign of support for the island that China claims, which has been under a lot of diplomatic and military pressure from Beijing. It says that it is a reliable partner for the U.S. and that they both believe in democracy.

Even though Taiwan has strong support from both parties in Congress and the Senate, the Biden administration left Taiwan out of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) last month. IPEF is an economic plan focused on Asia that is meant to counter China's growing influence.

AmCham Taiwan said they wanted the administration to start talks on a Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with Taiwan "as soon as possible" and have a "completed text ready for approval in 2024."

A deal like this would encourage Taiwan's other partners with similar goals to do the same. It would also open up Taiwan's economy even more and "effectively" deal with the economic and security problems caused by the island's key chip industry.

"In addition to these strategic trade elements, which have clear implications for U.S. defence preparedness, a BTA would strengthen both the U.S. and Taiwan's economies and, by extension, their overall security in relation to China."

But the chamber, which is made up of more than 500 companies from around the world, pointed out that no progress had been made on such an agreement and said that getting it passed was their top request to Washington.

Andrew Wylegala, the president of the Chamber, told reporters in Taipei that there were "no clear signs" that the Biden administration was thinking about a BTA in the near future, but that one could happen in the future.

He also said, in reference to a free trade agreement, "I would put Taiwan in that small and rare group of partners that the U.S. would see as especially desirable to bring in."

Under the new U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, high-level trade talks between the two countries will take place in Washington at the end of this month.



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