Seven US senators on Thursday introduced a bill to require a report on establishing a US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to expedite travel to the US.
US Senator Josh Hawley introduced the Taiwan Preclearance Act with US senators John Cornyn, Rick Scott, Tommy Tuberville, Mike Braun, Thom Tillis and Cindy Hyde-Smith, all from the Republican Party, as cosponsors.
US House Representative Kat Cammack is introducing companion legislation in the US House of Representatives.
The Senate bill would require the secretary of homeland security to submit a report 180 days after the enactment of the act to describe the plan and analyze the feasibility and advisability for the establishment of the program.
The US Department of Homeland Security would also need to assess the effects such a program would have on Taiwan-US trade, the US tourism industry, potential market access to the Indo-Pacific region and collaboration between governments in Taiwan.
A preclearance program at Taoyuan airport would signal Taiwan’s importance to the US and compliance with international aviation rules, the bill says.
“Taiwan is a leading democracy, a vital partner of the United States, and the perfect place for America’s first preclearance facility in the Indo-Pacific,” Hawley said in a statement, adding that the act would strengthen Taiwan-US relations and help maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
By conducting immigration and customs screening at the point of departure, “a preclearance facility in Taiwan would facilitate travel in a major transit point in Asia and help the US prevent inadmissible travelers before they even board the plane,” Tuberville said.
Braun added that Taiwan is an excellent choice for the next CBP program, which would bolster the Taiwan-US alliance through trade, tourism and business.
All of the preclearance facilities abroad are located in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East, including Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates, with more than 600 officers stationed at 16 locations, according to the CBP Web site.
In 2012, Taiwan was added to the US Visa Waiver Program, which allows Taiwanese passport holders to enter and remain in the US for up to 90 days without a prior visa application.
In 2017, Taiwan became eligible for the US’ Global Entry Program, which expedites customs clearance.
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