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Rubio Urges Pompeo to Send Senior State Department Official to Taiwan and Begin Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

Sep 10, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to send Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Keith Krach to Taiwan as soon as possible to begin laying the groundwork for free trade negotiations between the U.S. and Taiwan. This follows President Tsai’s recent announcement that Taipei would lift import restrictions on U.S. pork and beef products. Earlier this year, Rubio highlighted the importance of negotiating a free trade agreement with Taiwan in order to strengthen our relations and commerce between the U.S. and Taiwan as well as expand market access for American and Taiwanese goods. 
 
In his letter, Rubio encouraged Secretary Pompeo “to send Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environment Keith Krach to Taipei as soon as possible to demonstrate U.S. determination to complete an FTA in a timely manner,” adding that “an FTA negotiated with Taiwan could serve as a model for what a high-standard trade agreement should look like.”
 
Rubio is Cochair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights, and a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
 
The full text of the letter is below. 
 
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
 
I write in regard to the recent announcement by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen that Taiwan would be lifting import restrictions on U.S. pork and beef products. This action removes the sole obstacle to pursuing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the U.S. and Taiwan, which is of great strategic importance. As such, I urge you to send Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and Environment Keith Krach to Taipei as soon as possible to demonstrate U.S. determination to complete an FTA in a timely manner.
 
Maintaining U.S. economic influence and reducing Taiwan’s dependence on trade with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is essential to ensuring that the Indo-Pacific remains free and open. Taiwan is our tenth largest trade partner and they have proven themselves to be a partner of the first order. An FTA negotiated with Taiwan could serve as a model for what a high-standard trade agreement should look like. It will facilitate free trade under fair conditions that allow American companies and workers to flourish. Now is the time to begin negotiations. Sending Under Secretary Krach would show the U.S. commitment to achieving an FTA with Taiwan. Additionally, later this month, Taiwan will hold a farewell service for the late President Lee Teng-hui. President Lee was a historic figure who was responsible for Taiwan’s democratization, and a stalwart friend to America. Should scheduling work, it would be fitting for a senior U.S. representative to attend his funeral.
 
Taiwan, under President Tsai’s leadership, has taken a critical step by lifting the restrictions on U.S. products. The U.S. should stand behind our friends when they move in a positive direction and create the conditions for enhanced trade relations. The Trump Administration deserves credit for taking action on many important issues that its predecessors from both parties neglected with regard to Taiwan and the region more broadly. I trust that you will once again act quickly to advance U.S. interests and economic prosperity for the American people.
 
Thank you for all that you have done to strengthen U.S.-Taiwan relations, most recently by supporting the visit of Secretary Azar in August, in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act (P.L. 115-135). I stand ready to assist and support you on these important issues. 
 
Sincerely, 
 
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