The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a trade agreement with Taiwan aimed at deepening economic ties between Washington and the island, despite China’s discontent.
The “US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade” agreement facilitates customs procedures between the two parties, and looks forward to putting in place anti-corruption measures.
After receiving the green light in the House of Representatives, it’s set to be put to a vote in the upper house of Congress, where it’s also expected to be approved.
The United States doesn’t have formal diplomatic relations with self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.
However, Washington maintains informal relations with the island through the American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as the de facto US embassy.
The institute signed the trade agreement earlier this month with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.
Washington has remained a major ally of Taiwan despite the transfer of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
It’s also the island’s second largest trading partner and major arms supplier.
Beijing opposes any hint of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and foreign governments, and Washington warned, prior to the signing of the agreement, against any agreement of connotations of sovereignty or a formal nature with the Chinese region of Taiwan.
Last April, Beijing conducted three days of military exercises simulating a blockade on the island in response to US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s meeting with Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen in California.