Texas Governor, Taiwan Minister Sign Economic Cooperation Pact

Texas Governor, Taiwan Minister Sign Economic Cooperation Pact

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(Bloomberg) — Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Kuo Jyh-huei signed a statement of intent on economic cooperation during a meeting in Taipei Sunday.

Abbott emphasized the opportunities that exist for the two sides to work together in critical industries including semiconductors, energy and electric vehicle manufacturing.

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“We understand, both in Texas and in the United States, the importance of a strong Taiwan for the future of the entire globe,” Abbott said during the signing ceremony. The governor announced that his state would open a representative office in Taiwan, the first overseas base it has opened this century, outside of Mexico.

Earlier in the day, Abbott met with President Lai Ching-te. The governor’s office said Taiwan was the prime source of foreign direct investment in Texas in 2022, with a total of more than $5 billion, and was the state’s seventh-largest trading partner last year. Abbott is the first US state governor to officially visit Taiwan since Lai took office in May.

Abbott’s visit comes as Beijing steps up pressure on the new leader of Taiwan, who is seen by China as an advocate of independence for the US-backed island with which China has been seeking to reunify, by force if necessary.

Beijing sent 72 military aircraft across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and into the island’s Air Defense Identification Zone over the past three days. China held its most expansive military drills in a year in May after Lai’s inauguration, with 111 Chinese aircraft and dozens of naval vessels surrounding the island over two days.

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Abbott is being accompanied by his economic development mission on the trip, with Texas legislators joining the Taiwan leg. The governor is expected to visit South Korea and Japan with the mission after his stay in Taiwan.

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