US, Europe move to secure access to Taiwanese tech

The chips must flow. But don't mention the Great Wall

Taiwan has engaged with the United States, and the European Union, in separate talks aimed at securing tech supply chains.

On Wednesday, the US and Taiwan launched an "Initiative on 21st Century Trade" that is very similar to the recently-announced 14-country Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that aimed to secure regional supply chains.

Taiwan is not a party to the IPEF – an omission possibly intended to avoid provoking China.

But the Office of the United States Trade Representative has described the Initiative as addressing "trade partners that deploy non-market policies and practices, which threaten the livelihoods of [US and Taiwan] people and harm their workers and businesses."

Which sounds a lot like a reference to China.

The pact also aims for "economically meaningful outcomes" on trade facilitation, regulatory practices, technical and anti-corruption standards, digital trade, and labor rights.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a warning on Tuesday – the day before the talks were announced.

The message was reiterated on Wednesday.

Staying out of Taiwan could prove difficult for America, given that, according to US secretary of commerce Gina Raimondo last week, 70 percent of America's chips come from Taiwan.

Last week, US president Joe Biden said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan if it were attacked.

"We agree with the 'one China' policy. We signed on to it. All the attendant agreements [were] made from there. But the idea that that can be taken by force, just taken by force. It's just not appropriate," said Biden.

The US is not alone in working to ensure access to Taiwan. European Union (EU) trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis recently told the European Parliament the EU and Taiwan were upgrading their trade talks from technocratic level to ministerial and director-general levels, meaning they involve ministers instead of expert advisers.

The talks focus on safeguarding supply chain security. On the agenda for Thursday, June 2, were semiconductors. ®

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