US Senator Cory Gardner calls for trade pact talks with Taiwan

01-Aug-2020 Intellasia | FocusTaiwan | 6:02 AM Print This Post

American Senator Cory Gardner on Wednesday called on executive branch of the United States government to initiate discussions soon with Taiwan on a comprehensive Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).

According to a press release on Gardner’s official website Wednesday, he made the proposal in a letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthiser earlier in the day.

In the letter, which was also published on the website, Gardner said there is strong bipartisan support in Congress for the growing bilateral economic relationship between the US and Taiwan.

He noted that the US Senate last October unanimously passed the Taipei International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which calls on the US administration to “engage in bilateral trade negotiations with Taiwan, with the goal of entering into a free trade agreement that is of mutual economic benefit and that protects United States workers and benefits United States exporters.”

On Taiwan’s side, President Tsai Ing-wen, in a speech before the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei last November, formally endorsed a US-Taiwan BTA, Gardner said in the letter, referring to Tsai’s statement that such a trade pact between the two countries would strengthen their engagement and set a precedent for a rules-based trade order in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Unfortunately, despite the most favourable environment for US-Taiwan bilateral ties in recent memory, there has been no substantive progress on bilateral trade negotiations,” Gardner said in the letter.

He said that in 2018, Taiwan was the US’ 12th-largest trading partner for goods and services, with imports and exports of $95.4 billion in total.

Taiwan was also the 15th-largest foreign investor in the US last year, while American and Taiwanese enterprises together supported almost 100,000 jobs on both sides of the Pacific, Gardner said in the letter to Lighthiser.

“I write to respectfully urge you to immediately initiate meaningful negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a comprehensive Bilateral Trade Agreement,” wrote the senator, who co-authored the TAIPEI Act.

In December last year, 161 US House representatives across party lines also wrote to Lighthiser, urging him to start negotiations with Taiwan on a bilateral trade agreement.


Category: Taiwan

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