Twenty-three Republican members of the US House of Representatives on Monday called on US President Joe Biden’s administration to pursue a free-trade agreement with Taiwan.
A letter written by US Representative Lisa McClain from Michigan and signed by 22 other representatives seeks to persuade Biden that such a trade deal would benefit both nations economically, and enable the US to address China’s economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
“A free-trade agreement with Taiwan would not only open up new opportunities for Michigan’s manufacturing and agriculture industries, it would also allow Taiwan to become less reliant on Communist China,” McClain said in a statement.
“A free-trade agreement with Taiwan would show our allies in the region that the United States is committed to working with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] growing influence and territorial advances,” she said.
“We must show our allies that they are not alone in that fight,” she added.
The letter urges the Biden administration to sign a free-trade agreement with Taiwan under the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement.
The representatives said that since the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, Taiwan has become an strong ally of the US against the CCP’s expanding influence and military power in Southeast Asia.
“A formal free-trade agreement with Taiwan would bring significant economic benefits for both our nations,” the letter said. “Taiwan is also a fertile investment opportunity for many of our businesses in the technology sector. Taiwan has rapidly become one of the premier electronics manufacturing hubs in the world.”
A free-trade agreement is expected to create more business opportunities for US manufacturers and farmers, while the US would also gain better access to Taiwan’s food and energy sectors, and boost the protection of intellectual property rights for US firms, it said.
The letter praised the decision by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to invest and build an advanced wafer plant in Arizona.
“A free-trade agreement with Taiwan would allow the United States to begin countering CCP’s economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region,” the letter said.
“By enacting a trade agreement with Taiwan, the United States would demonstrate to our Indo-Pacific allies that we are invested in their security and prosperity,” it said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) thanked the representatives for their support and said that Taiwan would continue to push for a free-trade agreement with the US, and deepen trade and investment ties between the two nations.
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