Washington, Aug 17 (EFE).- The United States and Taiwan announced Wednesday the start of negotiations to close a bilateral trade and investment pact in the fall, at a time of great tension between Washington and Beijing over the island’s sovereignty.
In a statement, the Office of the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, announced the start of negotiations, following up on the 21st Century Trade initiative, announced by both parties on June 1.
The negotiations will include issues such as facilitating trade, promoting good regulatory practices, setting strong standards against corruption, improving trade between small and medium-sized companies, deepening agricultural trade and eliminating discriminatory barriers to trade.
It will also cover digital trade, labor and environmental standards, and possible ways to remedy market-distorting practices by public companies and practices and policies that are not responsive to markets, in a veiled reference to China.
China’s army carried out military exercises Monday in the air and sea space surrounding Taiwan in response to the visit of five US congressmen to the island, 12 days after the US Lower House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taipei.
The exercises consisted of a multi-service joint combat readiness patrol and an actual combat drill in the sea and airspace around the island of Taiwan, whose sovereignty Beijing claims.
Although China has conducted other drills in the Taiwan Strait in recent years, those related to the current crisis that began with Pelosi’s visit “cover a larger area, involve more military elements and are expected to be highly effective,” Chinese defense experts told local media.
Taiwan called Chinese military presence in these areas a “blockade,” and the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen said China’s “deliberately heightened military threat” was “irresponsible.”
China, which called Pelosi’s visit a “farce” and “deplorable betrayal,” considers Taiwan a rebellious province since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists. EFE