FAPA Applauds Introduction Of U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Legislation
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), and Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Gregg Harper (R-MS) introduced H.Res.271 encouraging the Trump Administration to work towards a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement.
The resolution concludes that the House of Representatives— “encourages the United States Trade Representative to commence negotiations to enter into a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.”
Taiwan being admitted into the World Trade Organization on January 1, 2002, AND with the U.S. as a long-time WTO member, opened the door for Taiwan to enter into free trade agreements with fellow WTO member countries such as the U.S.
As early as 2006, both Houses of Congress called for a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement when Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced legislation concluding that “the President should make the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan one of the top priorities of the United States when initiating bilateral free trade agreements with foreign countries.”
Rep. Andrews pointed out at the time: “The strategic advantage of a U.S. Taiwan FTA is even more self evident, in my view. It is an affirmation of an important sense that the United States regards the people of Taiwan as a free, sovereign and independent people. You don’t make free trade agreements with someone else’s state or territory. You make free trade agreements with sovereign people. Second: the so–called ‘Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) is more of a ‘Cage’ than a ‘Framework.’” He added that with a U.S.-Taiwan FTA, Taiwan would not be at the mercy of China and of China’s whims.
Taiwan functions as the gateway to Asia, has the world’s fifth-largest foreign exchange reserves, and is the world’s third-largest exporter of information technology-related products. Additionally, Taiwan ranks fourteenth in global growth competitiveness in the world, while the United States ranks third.
FAPA President Peter Chen says: “A U.S. Taiwan bilateral trade agreement will free Taiwan from China’s economic stranglehold which is, in fact, a potent nonmilitary instrument of influence that China is forging to achieve annexation of Taiwan.”
Mr. Chen concludes: “If and when the U.S. exercises its leadership to ink a trade agreement with Taiwan, other like minded democracies will undoubtedly follow suit. This would permit Taiwan to broaden its trade and other international relations, thereby giving Taiwan an opportunity to escape the death embrace of China.”
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 6, 2017
Mr. Yoho (for himself, Mr. Royce of California, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, Mr. Diaz-Balart, and Mr. Harper) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Trade Representative should commence negotiations to enter into a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.
Whereas the United States and Taiwan share a close bilateral relationship, codified in the Taiwan Relations Act (22 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.), which has been of enormous economic, cultural, and strategic advantage to both the United States and Taiwan;
Whereas the United States-Taiwan relationship is critical for the promotion of prosperity, democratic values, and regional security throughout the Asia-Pacific region;
Whereas Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping, and the Asian Development Bank, and is one of the largest and most important economies in the Asia-Pacific region;
Whereas in 1994, the United States and Taiwan signed a Trade and Investment
Framework Agreement (TIFA) that has served as the foundation for bilateral trade promotion, trade dispute resolution, and investment cooperation between the two economies;
Whereas in 2016, Taiwan was the United States tenth-largest trading partner in goods with more than $65,000,000,000 in goods traded between the two, and in addition the United States was the leading country for foreign direct investment in Taiwan;
Whereas in 2015, Taiwan was the United States seventh-largest market for agricultural products with $3,200,000,000 in United States exports to Taiwan, an amount that could increase more rapidly under a bilateral trade agreement;
Whereas a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan would provide a means to continue facilitating the growth of this valued trading partnership while addressing certain outstanding issues affecting United States exports, allowing both the United States and
Taiwan to continue to invest and share in each other’s economic success;
Whereas a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan could reduce regulatory barriers that currently affect United States agricultural products and various United States services, while respecting each partner’s intellectual property rights;
Whereas the United States welcomed efforts by Taiwan authorities to follow through on commitments related to intellectual property rights made in 2015 under the TIFA;
Whereas Taiwan plays a central role in the global electronics industry, producing more than 90 percent of the world’s motherboards and notebook computers, and is the largest consumer of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and has the largest semiconductor foundry manufacturing economy;
Whereas people-to-people relations between the United States and Taiwan continue to grow, with travel for business and pleasure to the United States from Taiwan increasing 50 percent since Taiwan’s designation for participation in the United States visa waiver program in October 2012;
Whereas Taiwan currently has the seventh-highest number of citizens who are studying in the United States;
Whereas in 2015, the United States and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, which seeks to expand already robust cooperation to address global challenges in third countries, in areas such as international humanitarian assistance, public health, environmental protection, energy, technology, education, and regional development;
Whereas Taiwan, as a democracy and free market economy, shares the United States principles and values, providing a strong foundation for open, fair, and mutually beneficial trade relations; and
Whereas a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan would indicate that Taiwan has committed itself to maintaining high standards in international trade, which would signify that Taiwan is a sound economic partner and is eager to deepen engagement in the global economy:
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) recognizes that the United States and Taiwan share significant and continuing opportunities in our bilateral trade relationship;
(2) recognizes that a high-standard bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan would help to develop such opportunities, reduce barriers, deepen economic cooperation, and facilitate mutual benefits; and
(3) encourages the United States Trade Representative to commence negotiations to enter into a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.