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US House Panel Challenges Biden on Go-It-Alone Trade Policy

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee issued a strong rebuke to President Biden’s go-it-alone approach to a first-round trade deal with Taiwan, passing a bipartisan bill to intervene in the effort.

The committee advanced 42 to nothing a joint House-Senate resolution to approve the U.S.-Taiwan 21st Century Trade First Agreement—a partial trade framework.

But Ways and Means senior Democrat Lloyd Doggett stressed the measure’s strong warning to President Biden, who’s trade ambassador signed the deal with Taiwan on June first. Doggett said; “No enforceable trade agreement can be entered with Taiwan or any trading partner in the world, without the approval of this Congress, acting through this committee. Only Congress through legislation, can ensure that the Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade is a durable, reliable, legal framework, and a starting point for our further negotiations.”

The joint resolution blocks any further agreement with Taiwan, unless Congress approves it and the president publishes its text, first. Taiwan bought nearly 4.5 billion in U.S. farm goods last year—led by soybeans, beef, wheat, poultry and corn.

But even farm state lawmakers were critical of Biden’s approach. Trade Subcommittee Chair Adrian Smith of Nebraska; “No administration can unilaterally pursue trade policy without deferring to Congress, and in turn, the American people. As highlighted in this bill, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution, grants Congress authority over international trade. No president can enter into a binding trade agreement without approval from Congress.”

A message even stronger coming unanimously from both parties to a president insistent on doing non-market access framework deals and trade missions instead of politically difficult free trade agreements.

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