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U.S. Relations With Taiwan

February 12, 2015

From: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs: Publications » U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets » Taiwan


The United States and Taiwan enjoy a robust unofficial relationship. The 1979 U.S.-P.R.C. Joint Communique switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. In the Joint Communique, the United States recognized the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, acknowledging the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. The Joint Communique also stated that the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people on Taiwan. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is responsible for implementing U.S. policy toward Taiwan.
The United States does not support Taiwan independence. Maintaining strong, unofficial relations with Taiwan is a major U.S. goal, in line with the U.S. desire to further peace and stability in Asia. The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act provides the legal basis for the unofficial relationship between the United States and Taiwan, and enshrines the U.S. commitment to assist Taiwan in maintaining its defensive capability. The United States insists on the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences, opposes unilateral changes to the status quo by either side , and encourages dialogue to help advance such an outcome.

U.S. Assistance to Taiwan
U.S. development assistance to Taiwan in the 1950s and 1960s helped Taiwan create the prosperous economy it enjoys today. Currently, the United States provides no development assistance to Taiwan.

Economic Relations
The United States has maintained and enhanced its commercial ties with Taiwan since 1979. Taiwan is the United States’ 10th largest trading partner, and the United States is Taiwan’s largest foreign investor. Taiwan enjoys Export-Import Bank financing, Overseas Private Investment Corporation guarantees, normal trade relations status, and ready access to U.S. markets. AIT has been engaged in a series of trade discussions that have focused on protection of intellectual property rights and market access for U.S. goods and services. The United States has a trade and investment framework agreement with Taiwan under the auspices of AIT and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Taiwan's Membership in International Organizations
The United States supports Taiwan’s membership in international organizations that do not require statehood as a condition of membership and encourages Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations where its membership is not possible. Taiwan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the Asian Development Bank.

Foreign Representation
The United States maintains unofficial relations with the people on Taiwan through the American Institute in Taiwan, a private nonprofit corporation, which performs citizen and consular services similar to those at diplomatic posts. The Director of AIT is Christopher J. Marut. Other principal officials are listed on AIT's site.

Taiwan maintains the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States at 4201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016 (tel: 202-895-1800).

More information about Taiwan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: