U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that Keith Krach, the top economic diplomat who visited Taiwan in September, will be leading a bilateral dialogue with Taiwan on economic prosperity in Washington, D.C. on November 20. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also announced the news at a summit on green energy in Taipei.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) will lead a delegation to the U.S. capital to attend the meeting in person, while other Taiwanese officials, including the Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, will participate virtually from Taipei, according to Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Taiwan’s Representative to the United States.

Pompeo said at a news briefing that the Taiwan-U.S. Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue will strengthen the cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan in several areas, from safe and secure supply chains, a clean and secure 5G network, health security, and beyond.


Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

“The dialogue signifies that our economic relationship with Taiwan, a vibrant democracy and a reliable partner, is strong and growing,” said the U.S. Secretary of State.

Pompeo's announcement was overshadowed in U.S. media by his response to a question at the press conference, saying, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Hsiao, retweeting the clip of the briefing, said Taiwan welcomes the dialogue, which “will help to further strengthen the robust economic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.”

台美共享自由民主 蕭美琴:發展關係重要基礎

Photo Credit: CNA

Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s Representative to the United States, meets with journalists in Washington, D.C.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs dubbed this meeting “a significant milestone in the economic relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.”

The agenda of the high-level meeting includes secure supply chains, the Clean Network and 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 press statement.

The Taiwan-U.S. Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue will be organized by the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington.

On the path to a bilateral trade agreement

In September, Keith Krach, the U.S. Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, visited Taiwan to meet President Tsai and other senior government officials, following a trip in August by Alex Azar, the U.S. Health Secretary. He also attended a memorial service for the former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, who led the island to democracy and died at the age of 97 in July.

During his trip, Krach, the highest-level American official to visit Taiwan since the U.S. switched diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, discussed with Taiwanese officials the creation of a new economic and commercial dialogue, according to the MOFA.


Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

Keith Krach, U.S. Undersecretary of State, visited Taiwan in September.

The idea for the meeting arose in late August, after President Tsai lifted a ban on U.S. pork that contains ractopamine and beef from cattle more than 30 months old. The decision is regarded as a huge step forward for Taiwan to initiating talks on a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S.

On August 31, David Stilwell, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, announced that the U.S. and Taiwan are establishing a new dialogue to explore the full spectrum of the economic relationship between the two countries in a speech at the Heritage Foundation.

Two weeks later, on September 17, Taiwan and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding on developing and investing in infrastructure in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Analysts believe the U.S. will continue to engage closely with Taiwan economically under Biden’s administration.

“If anything, a Biden administration will want to strengthen such initiatives,” said Gerrit Van Der Wees, a Taiwan expert at George Mason University told Reuters.

In a commentary, Frank Jannuzi, an advisor for Biden on U.S. relations with East Asia in the Senate, also called for the U.S. to “prioritize free trade agreement negotiations with Taiwan, a move that would incentivize others, including the United Kingdom, European Union, and Japan to follow suit.”

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TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)

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