The Chinese government has alleged that the UK is using trade collaboration as a justification to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan, following the revelation of a trade negotiation agreement between the two countries.
On Wednesday Taiwan’s representative to the UK, Kelly Hsieh, and his British counterpart based in Taipei, John Dennis, signed an enhanced trade partnership (ETP). The agreement paves the way for future talks on green energy, digital trade and investment, among other trade-based issues. The UK is Taiwan’s third-biggest trading partner in Europe and 21st largest overall.
Dennis, the unofficial representative of the UK, stated that the agreement will elevate our trade connections to unprecedented levels and marks the achievement of our ongoing efforts to establish novel methods of interaction.
The two parties announced that the agreement marks the first instance of a framework being created to promote trade between Taiwan and Europe. They expressed hopes that it will set an example for other nations to follow.
Beijing opposed the agreement because it regards Taiwan as a part of China and disagrees with any international action that suggests otherwise.
Thirteen countries officially have diplomatic relations with Taiwan’s government, while others maintain informal relations through established trade offices and economic connections.
The embassy of China in London released a statement expressing their strong opposition against any official communication between countries that have diplomatic ties with China and the region of Taiwan.
We call on the UK to adhere to the one-China principle and refrain from using trade cooperation as a justification for engaging in official exchanges or strengthening their relations with Taiwan.
Due to economic challenges in China, political uncertainty, and interference from the Chinese government in key industries, several global governments are considering ways to decrease their dependence on Chinese trade. The US has positioned its efforts as “derisking” rather than completely disconnecting, while numerous European governments are seeking to diversify their economies.
Taiwan is aiming to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which recently welcomed the UK as its newest member. John Deng, Taiwan’s minister and chief trade negotiator, emphasized the importance of strengthening economic ties with the UK in order to support Taiwan’s bid.
The city of Beijing, which is pushing to become a member of the CPTPP, disagrees with Taiwan’s involvement. This week, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited China for the first time in seven years. During the visit, Chinese leader Xi Jinping allegedly brought up their bid and did not explicitly request Australia’s backing.
Entry into the CPTPP requires the unanimous support of existing members, and several – particularly Japan – are opposed to China’s inclusion.