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Joint Letter to State and Local Government Officials
February 18, 2020

Dear Governor:

The Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, and State regularly receive inquiries about how U.S. state and local governments can conduct outreach to Taiwan. We are writing to address these common questions and explain how expanding relations with Taiwan in areas such as trade, education, investment, and tourism is fully compatible with and supports U.S. policy and can be beneficial to your state or municipality.

Taiwan is the United States’ eleventh-largest trading partner and ninth-largest market for agricultural exports. Visitors from Taiwan are eligible for visa-free travel to the United States through the Visa Waiver Program and a streamlined arrivals process at U.S. airports under the Global Entry program. Taiwan is the seventh-largest source of international students in the United States. State and local governments are well-positioned to deepen U.S. economic and cultural ties with Taiwan in ways that benefit their residents.

For decades, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués have enabled our unofficial relations with Taiwan to flourish, while simultaneously allowing the United States to maintain a wide-ranging official relationship with the People’s Republic of China. The U.S. One China policy encourages commercial, cultural, and other engagement with Taiwan.

Our Departments encourage cooperation with Taiwan and stand ready to help state and local governments navigate questions of nomenclature and protocol. We have attached information about the U.S.-Taiwan unofficial relationship as well as contact information for the Department of State office that handles these issues and the American Institute in Taiwan, the private, non-profit corporation established pursuant to the TRA to carry out relations with Taiwan.

Taiwan is a vital U.S. partner and a democratic success story. We hope you will take advantage of all the opportunities that our shared values and robust relationship with Taiwan offer.


David Stilwell
Assistant Secretary
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Ken Isley
Foreign Agricultural Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Ian Steff
Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service
U.S. Department of Commerce