US, Taiwan Reach Trade Pact

Image copyright: Reuters [via CNN]

The Facts

  • On Thursday, the US and Taiwan agreed to the first stage of a bilateral trade initiative, which was unveiled last June, marking their first official trade deal during the Biden admin., in a move that draws them closer amid mounting pressure from mainland China.

  • The initial agreement of the Initiative on 21st Century Trade covers customs and border procedures, regulatory practices, and small businesses. Negotiations on remaining, more complicated areas — including agriculture, labor and environmental standards, and digital trade — are still in progress.


The Spin

Anti-China narrative

The signing of the trade agreement between the US and Taiwan signals Washington's strong support for the island's democracy, which is an important and strategic trading partner with the US. Beijing will surely complain about this announcement, but its words will fall on deaf ears in Washington as negotiations continue with Taiwan.

Pro-China narrative

Under the pretext of trade collaboration, Taiwan is colluding with foreign adversaries, with Washington's deepening ties with Taipei jeopardizing peace and stability in the region. The Chinese government has numerous times warned the US not to encourage the island to try to make its de facto independence permanent, a step that would lead to war. It's time that the US fully respects China's core interests.


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