Taiwan signed a trade agreement with the United States on Thursday, despite complaints from China. File Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI | License Photo
June 2 (UPI) -- The United States signed its first trade agreement under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on Thursday, strengthening their economic ties while drawing a strong rebuke from China.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi attended the signing which U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson Sam Michel was "intended to strengthen and deepen the economic and trade relationship between the United States and Taiwan."
"We thank our Taiwan partners for helping us reach this important milestone and look forward to upcoming negotiations on additional trade areas set forth in the initiative's negotiating mandate," said Michel.
Before the signing, Taiwan cabinet spokesperson Alan Lin said in Taipei, that the U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement is a sign of "a new beginning" for the island.
"Relevant tasks are yet to be completed," Lin said. "Taiwan will continue to move towards a comprehensive FTA [free trade agreement] with the United States to ensure Taiwan's economic security."
The agreement seeks to streamline border procedures and reduce red tape between the United States and Taiwan, making it easier, faster, and cheaper for American businesses to bring their products to Taiwan and Taiwanese customers.
It also establishes a "Good Regulatory Practices Committee" to monitor the execution of the deal.
The two sides also established "comprehensive anticorruption measures" addressing money laundering, denial of entry for foreign public officials, recovery of corruption proceeds and protections for corruption whistleblowers.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said China "strongly opposes" the U.S.-Taiwan agreement during a press briefing Thursday, saying it" gravely violates the one-China principle as well as the three China-U.S. joint communique, and contravenes the United State's own commitment of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan."
Ming said the United States must "stop official interaction of any form" with Taiwan, because of its interference in Chinese internal affairs and supports the local Taiwan independence movement.
Taiwan sees itself as separate from China and has been self-governed since 1949, but China sees the island as a renegade province and has increasingly threatened to reunify it, by force if necessary.