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Governor of Texas and Taiwanese minister sign agreement on economic cooperation

(Bloomberg) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Taiwan's Economic Minister Kuo Jyh-huei signed a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation at a meeting in Taipei on Sunday.

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Abbott stressed that there are opportunities for both sides to collaborate in key industries such as semiconductor, energy and electric vehicle manufacturing.

“We in Texas and in the United States understand how important a strong Taiwan is to the future of the entire world,” Abbott said during the signing ceremony. The governor announced that his state would open a representative office in Taiwan, the first overseas base outside Mexico this century.

Abbott previously met with President Lai Ching-te. The governor's office said Taiwan was the top source of foreign direct investment in Texas in 2022, totaling more than $5 billion, and was the state's seventh-largest trading partner last year. Abbott is the first U.S. state governor to officially visit Taiwan since Lai took office in May.

Abbott's visit comes at a time when Beijing is increasing pressure on Taiwan's new president, who is seen in China as an advocate of the independence of the US-backed island, with which China wants to reunite, if necessary by force.

In the past three days, Beijing has sent 72 military aircraft across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and into the island's air defense zone. In May, after Lai's inauguration, China held its most extensive military exercises in a year. 111 Chinese aircraft and dozens of warships surrounded the island for two days.

Abbott will be accompanied on his trip by his economic development delegation, while Texas lawmakers will accompany the Taiwan leg. After his stay in Taiwan, the governor is expected to visit South Korea and Japan with the delegation.

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Anna Harden

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