Taiwan and the US are negotiating a memorandum of understanding, which the two sides would sign in the wake of the first Taiwan-US Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue to be held on Friday next week, Minister of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told lawmakers yesterday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei, Wu said that he is confident that the dialogue would become part of the regular communication mechanisms between Taiwan and the US.
Taiwan-US relations would continue to thrive, regardless of who is the US president, Wu said, adding that the memorandum would be part of the ministry’s efforts to ensure closer bilateral relations.
Asked whether the dialogue would be the platform through which Taiwan is to participate in the US’ Economic Prosperity Network, Wu said that he could not give a definite answer, but the ministry and its US counterpart are working toward creating stable mechanisms to deepen economic cooperation.
The network, an initiative promoted by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach, aims to encourage countries to economically decouple from China and form an economic alliance against Beijing.
Asked if Taiwan would send a delegation to US president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, Wu said that Taiwan would certainly send a delegation if it receives an invitation.
Speaking on the sidelines of another event yesterday, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) appeared less certain about the likelihood of signing such a memorandum, saying that it would “entirely depend on how the dialogue unfolds.”
The dialogue was first announced by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell on Aug. 31, after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 promised to ease restrictions on imports of US pork containing ractopamine and beef from cattle more than 30 months old.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday announced the date for the dialogue.
The dialogue would address critical issues in the bilateral economic relationship, including secure supply chains, the US’ Clean Network program, 5G security, semiconductors, infrastructure development, investment screening, women’s economic empowerment, health security, and science and technology cooperation, the American Institute in Taiwan said in a news release on Wednesday.
The government has said that the dialogue is not directly related to talks about a possible bilateral trade agreement, which would be conducted on the US side by the US Trade Representative Office.
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