Trump administration eyes trade deal with Taiwan

A group of Republican lawmakers is calling on the Trump administration to open trade talks with Taiwan in a bid to thwart economic and national security threats from China.
calendar icon 30 September 2020
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"It is very much on their radar screen," McCaul told Reuters, when asked if the Trump administration and its top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, would pursue a deal. "I don't think that Lighthizer has 100 percent approved it, is one of the options on the table for them and I think a recommendation coming from the task force would carry a lot of weight."

The proposal is one of 400 recommendations outlined in a report set to be released later on Wednesday 30 September by the task force.

The report will also recommend bolstering US medical supply chains, sanctioning Chinese telecoms companies engaged in economic or industrial espionage, and evaluating whether the Beijing's repression of its Uigher Muslim minority amounts to genocide.

Taiwan has long sought a free trade agreement with the United States, its most important supporter on the international stage, but Washington has complained about barriers to access for US pork and beef.

Last month, Taiwan paved the way for an eventual deal by announcing an easing of restrictions on the import of US beef and pork that is expected to go into effect on 1 January.

Taiwan-US trade last year was worth $85.5 billion, with the United States running a $23.1 billion deficit. Taiwan was the United States' 14th biggest export market in 2019.

The United States, like most countries, has no official relations with Taiwan, which is claimed by Beijing as sovereign Chinese territory. China has been stepping up its military activities near the island.

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