Expedited Free Trade Agreement with Taiwan Urged
WASHINGTON, DC - An expedited approach is being urged for House Concurrent Resolution 98, which urges the US "to increase trade opportunities with Taiwan by launching negotiations to enter into a free trade agreement with Taiwan."
The resolution was crafted under the terms of the Trade Act of 2002, which provides for an expedited procedure for Congressional consideration of international trade agreements.
The proposed legislation notes that Taiwan is US' eighth largest trading partner and cites a recent report issued by the United States International Trade Commission which asserted that some sectors of the US economy would increase "significantly" in percentage terms if the US entered into a free trade agreement with Taiwan. The USITC report concluded that motor vehicles, rice, fish, and other food exports to Taiwan would increase by more than 100%.
Industry sectors singled out that would benefit from an FTA with Taiwan included electrical machinery and appliances, transport equipment, scientific instruments, and chemical products.
Of particular note was the US agricultural sector, which, last year, was a net exporter of agricultural products, making Taiwan the fifth largest market in terms of value for US-sourced agricultural exports.
But, the Resolution says, despite being a strong market for the US agricultural sector, Taiwan still holds a 15.2% average nominal tariff rate on agricultural imports from the US.
In 2001, California led the list of US states exporting agricultural products to Taiwan with more than $218 million worth of cotton, peaches, nectarines, table grapes, rice, and other products shipped to the Asian island nation.
Representative Jim Ramstad (R-MN), a member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, introduced the measure March 18. The proposed resolution was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and had 29 co-sponsors as of April 14.
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