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Taiwan Caucus Co-Chairs’ Letter to USTR on Beginning Trade Deal Negotiations with Taiwan

Washington, December 19, 2019 | Brian Griffith (202.225.2216) | comments
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WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Albio Sires (D-N.J.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), and Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer encouraging him to work toward beginning negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.

They were joined by 157 members, over a third of the membership of the House of Representatives. Several members of the key House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Ways and Means signed the letter.

The members wrote: “The [Taiwan Relations Act] has facilitated decades of economic, security, and trade relations that have benefited the global community and increased the prosperity of the United States and Taiwan. With this in mind, we strongly believe you should work toward beginning negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.”

They continued: “Taiwan has already expressed strong interest in negotiating a fair, reciprocal, and high-standard bilateral trade agreement with the United States….As the trade and investment relationship with Taiwan already supports an estimated 373,000 U.S. jobs, working toward the negotiation of a high-standard and comprehensive U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement would further enhance our shared goal of enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. industries while spurring American job creation.”

Read the full letter below:



December 19, 2019

The Honorable Robert E. Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20508


Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), landmark legislation that set the framework for relations between the United States and Taiwan – two countries with a shared commitment to democracy, respect for the rule of law, and free market principles. The TRA has facilitated decades of economic, security, and trade relations that have benefited the global community and increased the prosperity of the United States and Taiwan. With this in mind, we strongly believe you should work toward beginning negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.

Taiwan is a longstanding ally and a like-minded partner in the Indo-Pacific region that upholds and shares our values. Taiwan is our 11th largest trading partner worldwide, the 8th largest export market for U.S. agricultural products, a major purchaser of U.S. LNG exports, and the supplier of a significant amount of the semiconductors used by our manufacturers in their finished goods. Taiwan already affords its workers a high standard of labor protection, consistent with International Labor Organization conventions, and is a leader in environmental protection in the region.

Taiwan has already expressed strong interest in negotiating a fair, reciprocal, and high-standard bilateral trade agreement with the United States. We believe an agreement with Taiwan would expand markets for American goods, including agricultural products, by addressing existing market access issues, and could serve as a high bar for future agreements with other governments in the region. Such an agreement would encourage more investment in American industries as Taiwan’s exports would provide inputs U.S. manufacturers need. It would also help establish comprehensive and high-standard rules for digital trade, ensuring both countries operate under the same standards and leading to the creation of high-paying jobs in the sector. As the trade and investment relationship with Taiwan already supports an estimated 373,000 U.S. jobs, working toward the negotiation of a high-standard and comprehensive U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement would further enhance our shared goal of enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. industries while spurring American job creation.

Taiwan has proven itself as a loyal and beneficial partner of the United States for many years. For the last four decades, the cornerstones of this relationship have been set forth in the TRA and the Six Assurances. We strongly think that your continued work toward trade agreement negotiations would demonstrate our continued commitment to Taiwan, and the region as a whole, and will be consistent with the letter and spirit of the relations that have served the United States and Taiwan so well for the last forty years. We hope that you will consider these factors and continue to work toward this goal. As you do so, we anticipate frequent and robust consultations with Congress, including all committees of jurisdiction.


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