President Tsai urges support for Taiwan’s participation in IPEF

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Taipei [Taiwan], January 23: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen called for support for Taiwan’s participation in the Washington-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) during a meeting with an American business group in Taipei on Tuesday.
“Taiwan will continue to express its willingness to play a role in this initiative,” Tsai said of the IPEF launched by the US government in Japan in May 2022.
“We hope that the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) can support Taiwan’s participation, which would allow us to work together to advance regional and global economic and trade development,” she told the visiting group.
The group, which is in Taiwan from Jan. 22-24, includes USTBC President Rupert Hammond-Chambers and Keith Krach, who served as under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment in former President Donald Trump’s administration, among others.
Taiwan was not invited to join the IPEF, a US initiative aimed at deepening its economic engagement and building up a bulwark against China’s growing influence in the region.
Currently, 14 partnering countries have joined the initiative to negotiate the issues of trade, supply chains, clean energy, and tax and anti-corruption.
The prospects for reaching a final agreement in the near future are not good, however, because of the lack of progress on the one substantive but contentious aspect of the framework — its trade pillar — in 2024 because of domestic politics in the United States.
A major announcement on the IPEF had been planned at the APEC summit in the US in November 2023, but it was seriously weakened, according to the Diplomat, because of the lack of Democratic Party and congressional support for an agreement on trade.
While not giving a positive response to Tsai’s appeal, Krach noted that the group’s current visit to Taiwan, about one week after the presidential and legislative elections, was meant to showcase its “support” for “tighter economic ties [between] the U.S. and Taiwan.”
“I have no doubt this momentum between the US and Taiwan will keep growing and our friendship will soar to new heights,” added Krach, who spoke in his capacity as chairman of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University.
He last visited Taiwan in August 2023 to meet with Taiwanese officials, including Tsai, to promote his institute, which, according to its website, provides “tech diplomacy” training and solutions to business leaders while seeking to build up a network among the business and tech communities.

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