US President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 07 August 2023. EFE/EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Biden signs law approving 1st part of US trade pact with Taiwan

Washington, Aug 7 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden on Monday announced he had signed into law a bill approving the first agreement negotiated under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade to deepen economic cooperation with the island, and despite Chinese opposition.

A motorist drives on an US flag pained on a street in Taipei, Taiwan, 24 November 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

A motorist drives on an US flag pained on a street in Taipei, Taiwan, 24 November 2021. EFE-EPA FILE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

Although not a free trade agreement, the initiative has been described by Taipei as the most comprehensive trade pact between the two parties since Washington established diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1979 under the “one China” principle.

Even so, the agreement is limited, since it covers issues such as streamlining customs procedures, regulatory practices and anti-corruption measures, but does not address tariffs on certain goods or Taiwanese complaints about double taxation in the US.

This initial part of the agreement was signed on June 1 by the American Institute in Taiwan, which acts as the de facto US embassy on the island, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, which defends the interests of its government in the North American country.

The text indicates that its objective is to strengthen and develop economic ties between the US and Taiwan for mutual benefit, lay the foundations for future cooperation, and provide transparency and consultation requirements for future deals.

It is expected that in the coming months both parties will carry out negotiations on labor, the environment and digital commerce.

According to official US data, in 2021 US exports of goods and services to Taiwan amounted to $47.3 billion, 18.8 percent more than in 2020, while imports from the island to the North American country totaled $86.9 billion.

The US is Taiwan’s second largest trading partner after China, with its transactions accounting for 12.6 percent of its total trade and 10.2 percent of Taiwanese imports.

In June, this pact already aroused the ire of China, which criticized Washington for “giving a wrong signal to Taiwan separatist forces.”