Lawmakers in the US Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday introduced companion resolutions calling on US president-elect Joe Biden to enter a free-trade agreement with Taiwan — a move welcomed by Taipei.
US Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican, introduced the resolution in the Senate, while 25 other Republican senators cosponsored it.
“Building closer trade ties between the United States and Taiwan is a win-win for both countries,” Toomey said in a news release.
With an agreement, both economies would grow faster, and the US would strengthen its relationship with a key regional ally and increase its economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, he said, urging the incoming Biden administration to prioritize such a deal.
A similar resolution was introduced in the House by US Representative Guy Reschenthaler, also a Republican. The House resolution had six sponsors, including Congressional Taiwan Caucus Chairs Steve Chabot and Mario Diaz-Balart.
“This legislation is a critical step toward building a stronger diplomatic partnership with Taiwan, expanding economic growth and job creation through increased access to markets in the Indo-Pacific region, and countering the Chinese Communist Party’s hostilities toward Taiwan,” Reschenthaler said in a separate news release.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) yesterday thanked the US lawmakers for their robust support for expanding bilateral trade ties.
In December last year, 161 US representatives across parties wrote to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, urging him to start negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement, she said.
The US’ Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, enacted in March, also supports improved trade ties between Taipei and Washington, she added.
Taiwan would continue to seek support for a bilateral trade pact from various sectors in the US, while deepening bilateral trade relations through different platforms, Ou said.
Despite warming relations between Taipei and Washington, a bilateral meeting under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, mainly overseen by the Office of the US Trade Representative, has not been held since October 2016.
“I’m not going to enter any new trade agreement with anybody until we have made major investments here at home and in our workers,” Biden told the New York Times on Dec. 2.
He later named Katherine Tai (戴琪) — who was born in Connecticut to Chinese-born parents who lived in Taiwan and were naturalized in the US in 1979 — to be his trade representative.
Tai’s judgements on trade issues would likely follow the traditional stance of the US Democratic Party, the ministry has said.
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