December 23, 2020

Reschenthaler, Toomey Spearhead Resolution Supporting Free Trade with Taiwan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) joined with Congressional Taiwan Caucus Chairs Reps. Steve Chabot (OH-1)and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) to introduce H. Res. 1268, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should initiate negotiations to enter into a free trade agreement with Taiwan. This legislation is a critical step toward building a stronger diplomatic partnership with Taiwan, expanding economic growth and job creation through increased access to markets in the Indo-Pacific region, and countering the Chinese Communist Party's hostilities towards Taiwan. Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), the author of the legislation, and 25 Senate Republicans introduced this resolution in the Senate.

"As a member of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, I am proud to introduce this critical legislation that supports expanding economic ties between the United States and Taiwan by lowering trade barriers," said Reschenthaler. "As an important trading partner for the United States and Pennsylvania, a free trade agreement with Taiwan will enhance our economic, diplomatic, and security partnership in the Indo-Pacific while also countering the Chinese Communist Party's aggression in the region. After visiting Taiwan in 2019, I saw firsthand Taiwan's shared economic values and commitment to freedom and democracy. It is past time our nation takes advantage of this opportunity to deepen trade ties with our friend and ally Taiwan. I thank Senator Toomey and Reps. Diaz-Balart and Chabot for joining me to strengthen this enduring partnership."

"Building closer trade ties between the United States and Taiwan is a win-win for both countries," said Senator Toomey. "American workers and manufacturers would have more customers, American consumers would have access to more affordable goods, both economies would grow faster, and America would strengthen its relationship with a key regional ally and increase our economic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The Senate should pass this resolution and the incoming Biden administration should make a trade agreement with Taiwan a priority."

"Taiwan is a strong friend and democratic ally of the United States, and I support efforts to further strengthen that relationship with deepened economic ties," said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. "While the PRC continues to bully and threaten its neighbors, Taiwan has nonetheless thrived as an economic powerhouse and responsible partner on a variety of key priorities including public health, democracy promotion, and trade. Working toward a free trade agreement with Taiwan will strengthen this crucial relationship and enable Taiwan to better withstand the barrage of threats and hostility from the PRC."

"As a longtime proponent of a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement, I am pleased to support this important legislation put forward by Congressman Reschenthaler," said Congressman Chabot. "Taiwan is one of our top trading partners, and consolidating our economic partnership will bring both economic and strategic benefits to both of our countries. Earlier this fall, President Tsai took bold action to address longstanding barriers to U.S. agricultural imports. It is critical that the United States Trade Representatives build on this gesture of goodwill before momentum is lost."

"TECRO sincerely appreciates Senator Toomey and Congressman Reschenthaler for introducing this important resolution," said Ambassador Bi-Khim Hsiao. "As both Taiwan and the United States are making every endeavor to ensure supply chain security and trading relationships that will provide us with more resilience and restore our economic growth in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, a bilateral trade agreement would be a sensible and necessary move to achieve those goals. Taiwan is ready to start the negotiations towards a high-standard trade agreement. We look forward to working with US Congress and the administration to deepen Taiwan-US trade and economic ties."

Currently, Taiwan is the 10th largest trading partner with the United States in goods and 11th largest trading partner overall. Taiwan is also Pennsylvania's 18th largest export market, with an estimated $367.6 million in 2017. In 2019, bilateral trade in goods between Taiwan and the United States accounted for $86 billion, a $24 billion increase from 2010. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Taiwan supports an estimated 208,000 U.S. jobs as of 2015, and Taiwan's foreign direct investment stock accounts for $11.1 billion.

As a member of the China Task Force (CTF), Congressman Reschenthaler supported including language to recommend increased trade ties with Taiwan in the CTF 2020 report. Specifically, the report stated: "the Administration should work to deepen trade ties with Taiwan and resolve specific outstanding trade issues, taking the steps to launch trade agreement negotiations once those are addressed."