FirstFT: US lawmakers to vote on financing weapons exports to Taiwan

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Good morning. The US Senate foreign relations committee is poised to vote on a bill that would finance weapons exports to Taiwan for the first time and significantly alter relations with Taipei amid rising pressure from China.

The Taiwan Policy Act, which will come up for a vote on Wednesday in the US, would provide Taiwan with $4.5bn in weapons and security assistance over the next four years. It would also create a $2bn loan facility to help Taipei buy arms and make Taiwan eligible for a war reserve arms stockpile mechanism.

The bill would also punish China if it took military action against Taiwan by requiring the White House to impose sanctions on large Chinese financial institutions over “escalating hostile actions in or against Taiwan”.

Coming on the heels of China’s large-scale military exercises in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei last month, the bill has sparked debate in the US about how to support Taiwan. Backers of the bill say the US must do more to help the country, while some worry that certain provisions will antagonise China while doing very little to secure Taiwan.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. How do you think lawmakers should vote on the Taiwan Policy Act? Tell me what you think at — Emily

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Line chart of Performance on September 13, 2022 (%) showing US stocks suffer biggest drawdown since June 2020

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  • More on the semiconductor industry: The US is struggling to mobilise its East Asian “Chip 4” alliance amid internal tensions and concerns over China undermining the proposed grouping with South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

4. Ukraine steps up offensive with push east into Donbas Ukraine’s armed forces are battling for control of a string of towns in the Donbas region, as Kyiv’s counteroffensive pushes east against Russian troops. Serhiy Hayday, the exiled Ukrainian head of the Luhansk region, said fierce battles were under way in Lyman, a town east of Izyum, a big military command post from which Russian forces fled days earlier.

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The day ahead

Xi Jinping’s first trip abroad since Covid pandemic The China president will be among friends and allies — including Russia president Vladimir Putin — when he travels to Kazakhstan today to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, beginning tomorrow.

Japan economic data The Tankan business sentiment survey results will be released as well as monthly industrial production data.

Queen “lying-in-state” Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will be placed on a platform in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament, from today until her funeral on Monday.

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Line chart of World trade in goods, as a % of GDP showing World trade in goods has stagnated relative to output since the financial crisis

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The Theragun massage device, which promises to relax and tone facial muscles, apparently met with enthusiastic approval from footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who signed a sponsorship deal with Therabody in 2021 and has long been a champion of the brand. Therabody is determined to own the sports recovery market. Can it hit the perfect pressure point?

© Amy Currell

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