Sat, Oct 19, 2019 - Page 1 News List

US agencies urge firms to boost Taiwan business ties

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

The logo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pictured in Taipei on March 3.

Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times

Three US government agencies have sent a joint letter urging the top 500 US firms to boost business ties with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, thanking Washington for its support despite Chinese pressure.

“The US government does not dictate how private companies choose to label Taiwan and has publicly expressed our position that no government should impose political standards on how companies present information to their customers,” the letter reads.

It was signed by US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell; Ian Steff, deputy assistant secretary of manufacturing in the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration; and Ken Isley, who is administrator of the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

While Washington has previously sent similar letters to US state and city governments, this month was the first time it sent one to private enterprises.

Many transnational firms and organizations have been pressed by Beijing to endorse its “one China” principle and refer to Taiwan as a Chinese province, with the latest instance being French luxury brand Christian Dior, which on Thursday apologized for excluding Taiwan in a map of China that an employee used during a recruitment presentation.

China has never stopped attempting to subdue Taiwan, with Christian Dior, the US’ National Basketball Association, beverage stores and aviation firms required to adhere to Beijing’s political discourse, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry thanked the US government for repeatedly supporting Taiwan amid Beijing’s bullying and pressing of global enterprises for its political benefit.

Beijing’s use of political power to coerce businesses is a serious problem that should be watched, the ministry said, calling on democracies to help curb China’s aggressive expansionism with concrete action.

The ministry also welcomed the US’ decision to maintain Taiwan’s membership in its Visa Waiver Program, which it has done since November 2012, allowing Republic of China passport holders to stay in the US for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa.

The membership shows that both sides are committed to boosting bilateral exchanges, as the US government regularly reviews qualification for the program to ensure that members are abiding by security, information and counter-terrorism regulations, it said.

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