RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Monday and signed an executive order to establish a trade office in Taiwan to bolster economic relations between Virginia and the island.

Youngkin and Tsai discussed trade and investment initiatives, as well as ways to improve business relations, the governor’s office said. The visit to Taiwan is part of the governor’s first overseas trade mission, which will also include stops in Japan and South Korea later this week.

“As a premier partner in the Commonwealth’s economic and business ecosystem, I was thrilled to meet with President Tsai to strengthen Virginia’s decades-old partnership with Taiwan,” Youngkin said in a statement.

Youngkin’s office touted the business ties between Virginia and Taiwan, calling the island a “significant player in cross continental relationships” and noting the $730 million in products that Virginia exported to Taiwan in 2022. Virginia imported $1 billion in goods from Taiwan that year, according to the governor’s office.

The governor’s executive order states that a preliminary analysis from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority shows the commonwealth will benefit from opening a trade office in Taiwan. The order adds the office would seek to strengthen economic ties with Taiwan and help attract foreign investment to Virginia.

Youngkin praised Taiwan’s growth and strength across multiple sectors, especially the vital role the island plays in the semiconductor industry. The Taiwan trade office, which Youngkin seeks to have open by June 30, will be Virginia’s fourth international office, joining offices in Germany, Japan and South Korea.

The meeting between Youngkin and Tsai comes amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China, which considers Taiwan a territory and views visits between U.S. and Taiwanese officials as challenges to its claim of sovereignty over the island.

The last two House Speakers — Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — have met with Tsai within the last year, meetings that China condemned. After Pelosi visited Taiwan, the Chinese government responded by sending warships and fighter jets near the island and conducting live-fire drills.

“Virginia’s relationship with Taiwan is a meaningful driver of the national partnership, with recent growth in annual product exports from Virginia significantly outpacing that of the broader nation,” Youngkin wrote in his order. “Furthermore, Taiwan and Virginia share common values, including democratic norms and support of a rules-based world order.”