More than 20 Republican representatives sent a letter to President Joe Biden, encouraging him to develop a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan, citing economic and national security benefits amid the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Indo-Pacific region.
In a letter sent Monday, March 22, the lawmakers asked the Biden administration to submit for Senate approval a formal free trade agreement with the self-governing island nation under a U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), a mechanism commonly used by the United States to resolve bilateral trade issues.
The letter was originally led by Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.), but was joined by 22 other GOP House representatives.
“Today, I led a letter to @POTUS urging his administration to pursue a formal free trade agreement with #Taiwan. This agreement would show our allies in the region that we are committed to working with our partners to counter the #CCP and advance policies that help Americans.” McClain wrote on her Twitter account on Monday.
Today, I led a letter to @POTUS urging his administration to pursue a formal free trade agreement with #Taiwan. This agreement would show our allies in the region that we are committed to working with our partners to counter the #CCP and advance policies that help Americans. pic.twitter.com/2YhwinCfQd
— Representative Lisa McClain (@RepLisaMcClain) March 22, 2021
With the letter, the lawmakers seek to persuade Biden that a hypothetical trade agreement with Taiwan would not only create economic benefits for both sides, but would also allow the United States to confront the might of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its influence in the Indo-Pacific.
From a human rights perspective, the letter seeks to convey that through the economic agreement, Taiwan could generate some economic independence from the CCP that would allow it to suffer less from its influence.
“A formal free trade agreement with Taiwan would not only open up new opportunities for Michigan’s manufacturing and agricultural industries, but would also allow Taiwan to be less dependent on Communist China,” McClain said in the statement.
Taiwan is already a major economic partner of the United States today; in 2020 alone, Washington exported more than $68 billion worth of goods to Taiwan.
What lawmakers seek to convey is that through an FTA, it would further formalize the partnership and create more trade opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and farmers, while the United States would also gain better access to Taiwan’s food and energy sectors and could more efficiently push for intellectual property rights protection for U.S. companies.
In addition to the expected economic effects of the FTA, the letter also highlighted security reasons in the face of threats from the CCP.
“A free trade agreement with Taiwan would demonstrate to our allies in the region that the United States is committed to working with our partners in the Indo-Pacific region to counter the growing influence and territorial advances of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and show our allies that they are not alone in that fight,” McClain added.
In response, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Joanne Ou, thanked the legislators for their support and assured that Taiwan will continue to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, seeking to deepen trade and investment ties between the two countries, reported Focus Taiwan.