10.01.20

Gardner Renews Call for US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement

Chairman of East Asia Policy urges USTR to begin 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, joined a bipartisan group of 49 U.S. Senators in calling on U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to begin negotiating a Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA) with Taiwan. Gardner wrote to Ambassador Lighthizer in July 2020 calling on the USTR to immediately initiate meaningful negotiations between the United States and Taiwan on a comprehensive BTA.

In July 2019, Gardner hosted President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen and high-ranking officials in Colorado, marking the first time a sitting president of Taiwan visited the state of Colorado, where Gardner and President Tsai discussed the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and the trade opportunities between the United States and Taiwan.

“As we look to advance our initiative for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we believe that now is the time to establish trade agreements with like-minded countries in the region. Given their record as a longstanding economic partner and security ally, we highly encourage you to begin the formal process of negotiating a trade agreement with Taiwan,” wrote Gardner and his colleagues. “As our 11th largest trading partner, with $76 billion in total goods exchanged during 2018 and $18.5 billion of trade in services, Taiwan has demonstrated their capacity to hold a strong economic partnership with the United States. Along with a robust trading profile of goods and services, Taiwan supports an estimated 208,000 American jobs – a number that will only increase with a free trade agreement.”

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

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

As we look to advance our initiative for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we believe that now is the time to establish trade agreements with like-minded countries in the region. Given their record as a longstanding economic partner and security ally, we highly encourage you to begin the formal process of negotiating a trade agreement with Taiwan.

As our 11th largest trading partner, with $76 billion in total goods exchanged during 2018 and $18.5 billion of trade in services, Taiwan has demonstrated their capacity to hold a strong economic partnership with the United States. Along with a robust trading profile of goods and services, Taiwan supports an estimated 208,000 American jobs – a number that will only increase with a free trade agreement.

In addition to supplementing U.S. goods and services, Taiwan is a reliable partner in many of our industries. This is not only critical for diversifying our supply chains, but essential to reducing our reliance on other countries such as China who seek to leverage supply chain inefficiencies in their path to regional and global dominance. This diversification of our supply chain is critical to our national security.

While there proves to be artificial barriers in the way of establishing an agreement with Taiwan such as agricultural standards, we are confident that progress can be made. Taiwan has already taken steps to further these conversations by lifting their bans that existed on U.S. pork and beef products. This move will greatly increase accessibility for our farmers and ranchers to do business in Taiwan, and in light of this major development, we can now substantively move forward on negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan.

A free and open Indo-Pacific is a goal that we need to actively work towards by countering China’s economic influence in the region. An agreement with Taiwan would help us accomplish this goal by building a network of governments dedicated to open markets free from manipulation and would serve as a signal to other nations that Taiwan is a viable partner that is open for business.

We are confident that a U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement would promote security and economic growth for the United States, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific as a whole. We urge the administration to prioritize a trade agreement with Taiwan, and we look forward to working with you to secure this framework. 

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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.