Trade talks under a new initiative to reach agreements with “economically meaningful outcomes” are to be held by the US and Taiwan, Reuters reported, adding that a Taiwanese official said China's “economic coercion” would also be discussed.
In June, Washington and Taipei unveiled the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, just days after the Biden administration excluded the Chinese-claimed island from its Asia-focused economic plan designed to counter China's growing influence.
Having "reached consensus on the negotiating mandate", the two sides are expected to come to the first round of talks in early autumn, the office of the US Trade Representative said.
“We plan to pursue an ambitious schedule for achieving high-standard commitments and meaningful outcomes covering the eleven trade areas in the negotiating mandate that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st-century economy," Deputy United States Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said in a statement.
For his part, Taiwan's top trade negotiator John Deng told reporters in Taipei on Thursday he hoped talks could start next month, and that this could one day result in a free trade deal the island has long sought with the US.
The talks are to demonstrate a robust agenda including issues like trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, and removing discriminatory barriers to trade.
The negotiation mandate said the start of the formal talks would be in view of reaching agreements with “high standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes”.
Mr Deng stressed that China’s “economic coercion” would be one of the topics. Beijing has been taking actions to block trade with countries it is in dispute with, such as when Lithuania allowed Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its capital.
“Its economic coercion targets are not just the United States or Taiwan, it's done to a lot of countries. Its harm to the global economic and trade order is great,” he added.
Although Washington lacks formal diplomatic ties with the island nation, it has been keen to bolster support for Taiwan, especially as it faces increasing political pressure from China to accept its sovereignty claims.