Liz Truss welcomes major blow to China as UK begins new trade talks with Taiwan

Victor Gao criticises planned Liz Truss visit to Taiwan

The UK Government has announced a new round of trade talks with Taiwan with the promise of boosting trade relations between Britain and the Pacific island.

While bilateral trade is already worth £8.6billion, minister Nigel Huddleston has announced he is to co-host the 26th annual trade talks later this year, in the hope of strengthening that relationship.

The UK and Taiwan have had a long-standing trading relationship for many years, dating back to 1991, however the news is likely to provoke China.

China recently reacted with fury when Liz Truss flew to the island – which China believes is their own rightful territory – to deliver a speech warning the West “can’t believe a word China says”.

Liz Truss called on the West to “support free democracies like Taiwan”, both diplomatically and economically.

READ MORE Liz Truss to use Taiwan speech to warn the west against appeasing China

Welcoming today’s announcement, a spokesman for Ms Truss told the Express: “This is a welcome and encouraging development, but – as Liz said during her recent visit to Taiwan – she would also like to see the UK champion the fast-tracking of Taiwan’s accession to the CPTPP.”

The news today will further demonstrate the UK’s support for the nation’s independence, which China has said it will retake – by force if necessary – by 2050.

Ms Truss’s speech in May saw a spokesperson for the Communist Government in Beijing warn it would make war in the Pacific more likely, and come sooner.

In November last year, the Chinese Government criticised a visit by then-trade minister Greg Hands, saying their country “resolutely opposes” official exchanges between Taipei and UK.

They added that the UK must cease “sending the wrong signals” to pro-independence forces on the island, which Beijing regards as its own territory.

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Taiwan’s trade department has said the nation’s top negotiator, John Deng, had spoken with Mr Huddleston and jointly announced the official relaunch of trade talks.

They will focus on priority areas such as bilateral investment and digital trade, as well as energy and the transition to net-zero carbon emissions.

The Department for Trade, headed by Kemi Badenoch, said: “Like the UK, Taiwan is a champion of free and fair trade underpinned by a rules-based global trading system.

“The UK is already a major partner in Taiwan’s green transition, with more than 40 British companies already having set up offices in Taiwan.”

The end goal is an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which would be “underpinned by non-legally binding Memoranda of Understanding in key areas such as two-way investment, digital trade, and energy & net-zero”.

At the last Trade Talks held in Taiwan in late 2022, the UK and Taiwan discussed barriers to trade in sectors like fintech, food and drink and pharma, aimed at helping more UK firms export and invest in Taiwan.

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