Letter: Bilateral Trade with Taiwan

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October 13, 2021 2:56 pm

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We the undersigned legislators, in partnership with ALEC Action, strongly urge you to launch immediate negotiations with Taiwan to establish a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) between our two democracies. As the sixth freest economy in The Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom, Taiwan has earned expedited consideration, and a US-Taiwan BTA would benefit America’s economy. It would help fulfill your Presidential Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains and signal to China that America takes security commitments to Taiwan seriously. Significantly, a BTA would be evidence that you plan to back up your statements about prioritizing democracies under assault from authoritarian regimes with action.

This is the ideal time to negotiate a BTA with Taiwan. As Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho observed at USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai’s confirmation hearing, “Trade is a domestic priority,” and capitalizing on trade opportunities is one of the surest ways to rebuild America’s post-COVID economy. An adept pandemic response helped Taiwan become 2020’s fastest expanding Asian economy, outstripping China’s GDP growth for the first time in 30 years. This trend is expected to accelerate with increased investment in semiconductor firms that provide chips for 5G, autos and high-performance computing as more global consumers queue up to buy Taiwanese products. Taipei is sharing the benefits of this high-tech boon by constructing semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the states.

In 2019, our bilateral trading relationship supported 373,000 American jobs. A BTA will increase this total, putting more Americans back to work. President Tsai defied Taiwan’s agricultural sector, an entrenched interest group, lifting restrictions on American pork and beef – the last major barrier to starting negotiations. Thanks to President Tsai’s political courage, a BTA would greatly benefit US farmers with new market access for exports.

Bilateral economic cooperation is already extensive and complementary. The United States is Taiwan’s second largest import market and the third largest provider of the island’s energy – mainly LNG. American manufacturers rely on Taiwanese inputs which contributed to 2019’s $85.5 billion in bilateral trade volume. A trade framework would facilitate cross-border commerce and legal harmonization in digital trade, IP protection and medical device standards.

A bilateral trade framework would also serve as a non-military, regional strategic footprint and help to secure vital international supply chains. This is yet another reason for the bipartisan support in the US for Taiwan’s independence. Predictably, many concepts in your supply chain Executive Order overlap with the September 2020 China Task Force Report drafted by GOP lawmakers. The Report suggests catalyzing “domestic production of important technologies … to secure U.S. supply of advanced semiconductors” – a goal that a US-Taiwan BTA could facilitate. The Report also calls on the United States to secure international leadership in the technology of tomorrow, including AI, 5G and autonomous vehicles. These ideas are echoed in your Executive Order to reshore certain critical industries, and Taiwan which has already spent billions of dollars on semiconductor plants in the US, has given us a head start.

Whether your Administration continues or replaces the Clean Network Project, the same objectives – ensuring data privacy, protecting IP, and defending the integrity of technology to prevent use and abuse by authoritarian regimes – will be American security priorities going forward. Taiwan will be a valuable partner.

Unambiguous communication circumvents international miscalculations that can inadvertently lead to armed conflict. A US-Taiwan BTA is a powerful reminder of America’s unwavering resolve to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances serving as an unequivocal global message that the United States considers Taiwan’s sovereignty inviolable.

We applaud your description of America’s commitment to Taiwan as “rock solid” and the invitation to Ambassador Bi-khim Hsiao to attend your inauguration. We are encouraged by Secretary Blinken’s statements supporting Taipei’s self-defense and to hold China accountable for threats made against Taiwan. A US-Taiwan BTA is an opportunity for purely positive engagement in the Asia-Pacific to balance cautionary warnings about China. Swift negotiation of a bilateral trade agreement with Taipei would reinforce your Administration’s messaging with concrete policy that would benefit America economically and strategically.

Very respectfully,

Representative Arnold Mooney
Senator Bob Ballinger
Representative Karilyn Brown
Representative Cameron Cooper
Representative Cindy Crawford
Representative Jim Dotson
Representative Charlene Fite
Senator Bart Hester
Representative David Ray
Representative C. Brandt Smith, Jr.
Representative Carlton Wing
Representative Alonzo Baldonado
Representative Leonard Biasiucci
Representative Shawnna Bolick
Senator Paul Boyer
Representative Frank Carroll
Representative Cesar Chavez
Senate President Karen Fann
Senator David Gowan
Senator Rick Gray
Senator Venden Leach
Senator J.D. Mesnard
Representative Quang Nguyen
Senator Kelly Townsend
Representative Justin Wilmeth
Representative Richard Holtorf
Representative Andres Pico
Representative Kim Ransom
Senator Mike France
Representative Roland Lemar
Representative Kevin Ryan
Senator Bryan Richardson
Representative Juan Fernandez-Barquin
Representative Spencer Roach
Representative Anthony Sabatini
Representative Bruce Williamson
Representative Gene Ward
Representative Thomas Gerhold
Senator Jesse Green
Speaker Pro Tempore John Wills
Representative Sage Dixon
Representative Gregory E. Ferch
Senator Mary Souza
Senator Steve Vick
Representative Tom Morrison
Representative Michael Murphy
Representative Joe Sosnowki
Senator James Buck
Senator Chris Garten
Representative Tory Arnberger
Representative Doug Blex
Representative Chris Croft
Senator Beverly Gossage
Representative Cheryl Helmer
Representative Steven Howe
Representative Susan Humphries
Representative Les Mason
Representative Samantha Poetter
Representative Pat Proctor
Representative Eric L. Smith
Representative Barb Wasinger
Representative John Blanton
Senator William Buford
Senator Christian McDaniel
Representative Kimberly Moser
Representative Beryl A. Amedee
Delegate Christopher T. Adams
Delegate Jason Buckel
Delegate Susan Krebs
Delegate Kathy Szeliga
Representative John Andrews
Representative Sue Bernard
Representative Joshua Morris
Representative Jim Thorne
Senator Rich Draheim
Representative Patrick Garofalo
Representative Dottie Bailey
Representative Jason Chipman
Representative Tricia Derges
Representative Willard Haley
Representative Justin Hill
Representative Jim Murphy
Representative Cheri Reisch
Representative Chris Sander
Representative Greg Sharpe
Representative Travis Smith
Representative Richard West
Senator Lydia Chassaniol
Representative John Read
Representative DanBartel
Representative Seth Berglee
Representative Michele Binkley
Senator Kenneth Bogner
Representative Dave Fern
Representative Steven Galloway
Senator Carl Glimm
Representative Greg Hertz
Representative Caleb Hinkle
Senator Doug Kary
Senator Mike Lang
Senator Thomas McGillvray
Representative Bob Phalen
Representative Kerri Seekins-Crowe
Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway
North Carolina
Representative Hugh Blackwell
Representative Dennis Riddell
Representative Jason Saine
Representative Jeffrey Zenger
North Dakota
Representative Lawrence Klemin
Representative David Monson
Senator Shawn Vedaa
New Hampshire
Representative Keith Ammon
Representative Jess Edwards
Senator John Reagan
Representative Jordan Ulery
Representative Michael Vose
Representative Kenneth Weyler
New Mexico
Representative James Strickler
Representative Timothy Ginter
Representative Jennifer Gross
Senator George Lang
Representative William Seitz
Representative Dick Stein
Representative Scott Wiggani
Senator Micheal Bergstrom
Representative Chad Caldwell
Senator Nathan Dahm
Senator Julie Daniels
Representative Mike Dobrinski
Representative Jim Grego
Representative Samuel Hill
Representative Mark Lepak
Representative Garry Mize
Representative Terry O’Donnell
Senator Roland Pederson
Representative Logan Phillips
Senator Marty Quinn
Senator Cody Rogers
Representative Tammy Townley
Representative Kevin Wallace
Senator Cris Dush
Representative Seth Grove
Representative Andrew Lewis
Representative David Rowe
Rhode Island
Representative Brian Kennedy
Senator Frank Lombardo
Representative Patricia Morgan
South Carolina
Senator Thomas Alexander
Representative Sandy McGarry
Representative Adam Morgan
Speaker Pro Tempore Thomas E. Pope
Senator Rex Rice
Representative Garry Smith
South Dakota
Representative Aaron Aylward
Representative Rocky Blare
Senator Jessica Castleberry
Senator Casey Crabtree
Representative Caleb Finck
Representative Steven Haugaard
Senator Phil Jensen
Representative Oren Lesmeister
Senator Reynold Nesiba
Representative Ernie Otten
Representative Marty Overweg
Representative Carl Perry
Representative Tony Randolph
Senator James Stalzer
Senator Larry Zikmund
Representative Rick Eldridge
Representative Susan Lynn
Representative Chris Todd
Representative Mark White
Representative Cecil Bell
Senator Brandon Creighton
Senator Bryan Hughes
Representative Phil King
Representative Tan Parker
Senate President Stuart Adams
Representative Melissa Ballard
Representative Kera Birkeland
Representative Walt Brooks
Representative Steve Christiansen
Representative Kay Christofferson
Senator Lincoln Fillmore
Representative Stephen Handy
Representative Timothy Hawkes
Representative Dan Johnson
Senator John D. Johnson
Representative Marsha Judkins
Representative Karianne Lisonbee
Representative Darlene Pierucci
Representative Rex Shipp
County Commissioner Stanley Summers
Representative Jordan Teuscher
Representative Christine Watkins
Representative Ryan D. Wilcox
Executive David Zook
Senator Phil Fortunado
Washington Senator Jim Honeyford
Representative Bob McCaslin
Senator Ann Rivers
Representative Joseph Schmick
Senator Keith Wagoner
Representative Kenneth Skowronski
Representative Gary Tauchen
West Virginia
Representative Dianna Graves
Delegate Joshua Higginbotham
Senator Mark Maynard
Representative Jeffrey Pack
Senator Patricia Rucker
Senator Ogden Driskill
Representative DanLaursen
Representative Pepper Ottman