The Biden administration is launching trade and investment talks with Taiwan, advancing U.S. ties with Taipei and likely adding to frictions with the island’s nemesis, Beijing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a House committee on Monday about the plans for trade talks. “We are engaged in conversations with Taiwan, or soon will be—on some kind of framework agreement,” Mr. Blinken said in response to a question from Rep. Andy Barr (R., Ky.) during the virtual hearing.
Mr. Blinken declined to elaborate and referred questions about details to Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, who wasn’t at the hearing. A spokesman for Ms. Tai’s office said that strengthening relations with Taiwan is important, though “we have no meetings to announce at this time.”
The latest effort would revive a dormant trade and investment framework, an arrangement that isn’t as comprehensive as the free-trade agreements that the U.S. has with Canada, Mexico and other top economic partners. Taiwan for years has sought closer engagement on economic issues, and in the past year the State Department has sponsored lower-level discussions on closer economic and business relations.
U.S. ties with Taiwan, a Cold War ally, are a lightning rod in the testy relations between Washington and Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and vows to use military force if needed to annex the island.