Fri, Nov 04, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Lieberman calls for US-Taiwan FTA

TRADE:The independent senator pointed out the irony that democratic Taiwan now has freer economic relations with communist China than it does with the US

By William Lowther  /  Staff Reporter in Washington

The major problem or hurdle in pursuing a free-trade agreement with Taiwan, he said, was the perception in Washington that it would adversely affect relations with China.

“We don’t want to upset their sensitivity,” Liberman said. “But — and I am going to speak simplistically now — one of the things that I have found in my time in Washington is that in more ways than one might imagine, you can fashion your foreign policy in the same way you would want to fashion your personal relations with people.”

“I find that when I have a disagreement with someone, including a colleague in the Senate, the best thing to do is not to tiptoe around the colleague and not talk about the disagreement because we both know it’s there,” he said. “It is best to talk about it and say: ‘Sorry pal, I owe John or whatever his name is, because John has been with me politically for a long time and we agree on a lot of stuff and so I have to go with him.’”

“We are committed by law and we believe in the rule of law. The Taiwan Relations Act establishes a clear framework for our relations with Taiwan, not in our opinion in a way that should damage our relations with China,” Lieberman said. “I think we should be honest.”

Lieberman said that Taiwan had developed a democratic political system and a market-based economy.

“I just come back to the irony that struck me as I was preparing my remarks for today. It’s quite a remarkable statement that Taiwan has actually freer trade relations with China than it does with us,” he said. “Heavens, that’s a ridiculous result. The result of our own hypersensitivity.”

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