07.29.20

Gardner Calls on USTR to Initiate Bilateral Trade Agreement Negotiations with Taiwan

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, called on U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to immediately initiate meaningful negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a comprehensive Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).

“The United States bilateral economic relationship with Taiwan continues to grow and enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress,” wrote Senator Gardner. “On October 29, 2019, the United States Senate unanimously passed S.1678, the Taipei International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which calls on the 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.’”

Gardner continued, “Unfortunately, despite the most favorable environment for U.S.-Taiwan bilateral ties in recent memory, there has been no substantive progress on bilateral trade negotiations. I look forward to your reply and to working with you to make the U.S.-Taiwan BTA a reality in the 116th Congress.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

I write to respectfully urge you to immediately initiate meaningful negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a comprehensive Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA).

The United States bilateral economic relationship with Taiwan continues to grow and enjoys strong bipartisan support in Congress. In 2018, Taiwan was the U.S.'s 12th-largest trading partner for goods and services, importing and exporting a total worth $95.4 billion. Taiwan was the 15th-largest foreign investor in the U.S. last year, and U.S. and Taiwanese enterprises together support almost 100,000 jobs on both sides of the Pacific.

On October 29, 2019, the United States Senate unanimously passed S.1678, the Taipei International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, which calls on the 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 November 19, 2019, in a speech before the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen formally endorsed the U.S.-Taiwan BTA, stating: "A high-quality BTA between our countries would not only help strengthen our engagement, it would also set a strong precedent for a rules-based trade order in the Indo-Pacific region."

Unfortunately, despite the most favorable environment for U.S.-Taiwan bilateral ties in recent memory, there has been no substantive progress on bilateral trade negotiations.

I look forward to your reply and to working with you to make the U.S.-Taiwan BTA a reality in the 116th Congress.

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.