The U.S. House passed by voice vote a bill to implement the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade, a first-phase trade framework expected to lead to talks on ag and other trade. The bill highlights a rare nexus between U.S. trade and strategic interests, with Taiwan a bulwark against China and America’s eighth-largest trading partner in 2021 and seventh-biggest in ag purchases last year.
House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith said; “The Chinese Communist Party will not, will not intimidate the United States from deepening our relationship with Taiwan.”
Including a second phase of talks with Taipei that’s expected to include agriculture. Washington State’s Suzan DelBene said; “Taiwan is the seventh-largest export market for Washington farmers and a partner in developing the semiconductor chips that drive our economy.”
Taiwan bought nearly $4.5 billion in U.S. farm goods last year—led by soybeans, beef, wheat, poultry, and corn but still lags in pork buys, a long-running trade irritant with the U.S.
Meantime, in a rebuke to President Biden, the bipartisan House-Senate resolution conditions further deals with Taiwan on Congressional approval after the White House struck the initial deal on its own. Minority Democrats agreed with the bill’s dual purpose—Illinois’ Brad Schneider said; “It is critical that Congress act to support this first trade agreement with Taiwan and ensure that future trade agreements are subject to Congressional approval process.”
A Senate panel lacked a quorum to advance a bipartisan bill to launch bilateral talks on a treaty to reduce double taxation and boost two-way trade. The panel and Senate could act on both Taiwan measures after it returns from its July 4th break.