US, Taiwan Sign Trade Deal Over China's Opposition

US, Taiwan Sign Trade Deal Over China's Opposition
Taiwan's Ambassador to the United States Hsiao Bi-khim (front L) and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan's headquarters Ingrid Larson (front R) sign a trade agreement as minister without portfolio in charge of the Office of Trade Negotiations John Deng (back L) and deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi (back R) look on, in Arlington, Va., on June 1, 2023. (Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office)
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON—The United States signed a trade agreement Thursday with Taiwan over opposition from China.

The two governments say the U.S.–Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade will strengthen commercial relations by improving customs, investment, and other regulation.

The measure was signed by employees of the unofficial entities that maintain relations between the United States and Taiwan, a center for high-tech industry. They have no formal diplomatic ties but maintain unofficial relations and have billions of dollars in annual trade.

The agreement is intended to “strengthen and deepen the economic and trade relationship,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement. The deputy USTR, Sarah Bianchi, attended the signing.

The Chinese communist regime accused Washington of violating agreements on Taiwan's status and demanded the U.S. government stop official contact with the island's elected government.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims Taiwan as part of its territory. The self-ruled island has never been part of the People's Republic of China, but the CCP says it is obligated to unite with China, by force if necessary.

The CCP has stepped up efforts to intimidate Taiwan by flying fighter jets and bombers near the island. American and European politicians have visited Taiwan in a show of support for its elected government.