Taiwan and US Pledge Health Partnership, Possible Trade Agreement After Azar Visit

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday her country would seek a trade agreement and closer security ties with the United States.The Diplomat
Date: August 14, 2020
By Nick Aspinwall

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and the U.S. delegation arrive at Taiwan’s Songshan International Airport, Sunday, August 9, 2020.
Credit: Christopher Smith/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Taiwan and the United States may not be official diplomatic allies, but the two countries have continued their embrace after the conclusion of the highest-level U.S. official visit to the island in decades.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar concluded a three-day visit to Taiwan on Wednesday, during which he met with President Tsai Ing-wen along with senior officials including Health Minister Chen Shih-chung and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

The visit precipitated Tsai’s proclamation on Wednesday that Taiwan would pursue closer security ties and a trade agreement with the United States, with whom she said Taiwan’s relationship “has never been closer.”

A trade agreement, she said, has been “hindered by technicalities that account for just a fraction of two-way trade” – a likely reference to Taiwan’s ban on importing U.S. pork and beef due to the use of the feed additive ractopamine, which is banned by about 160 countries.

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