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161 US representatives call for Taiwan trade agreement

161 US representatives call for Taiwan trade agreement

TAIPEI: A letter addressing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and signed by 161 U.S. House of Representatives has called for the country to start negotiating for a bilateral trade deal with Taiwan.

“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,” the letter said. Sponsored by Steve Chabot, Gerry Connolly, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Albio Sires, all of whom are co-chairs of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, the document obtained 161 signatures from a bipartisan group in the House.

Referencing close economic, trade, and security ties between the two nations under the Taiwan Relations Act, the representatives urged Lighthizer to mull over bilateral trade negotiations with Taiwan. On Friday (Dec. 20), Taiwan’s representative office in the U.S. thanked the U.S. Congress for its longstanding bipartisan support of Taiwan.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expressed interest in inking a trade deal with the U.S. government. In a meeting with Ian Steff, assistant secretary for for Global Markets and Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, in early December, Tsai said a bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the U.S. would “ensure a reliable and secure supply chain and inject new momentum into our countries’ economies to spur economic growth and prosperity.”

“We strongly think that your continued work toward trade agreement negotiations would demonstrate our continued commitment to Taiwan, and the region as a whole,” the U.S. representatives letter to Lighthizer said. It added a trade deal between the two countries would facilitate investments in the U.S., boost sales of American products, create jobs, and help establish comprehensive rules for bilateral digital trade.