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Transcript of DelBene Remarks at Ways & Means Hearing on the Future of U.S-Taiwan Trade

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WASHINGTON, DC, September 14, 2022 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) participated in a House Ways & Means Committee hearing on the future of U.S.-Taiwan trade. Recently, DelBene participated in a Congressional delegation to the Indo-Pacific with Speaker Pelosi, including visiting Taiwan.

Witnesses included:

  • Bonnie Glaser, Director of the Asia Program, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • Mark Wu, Independent Expert, Professor of Law & Faculty Director for the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
  • Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director, The Solidarity Center
  • Russell Boening, President, Texas Farm Bureau 

Below is a full transcript. The video can be found here.

Congresswoman DelBene: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing on the future of the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship.

The United States has long recognized that the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan, is vital to our national security and our economic prosperity and the region’s expected to account for over half of global economic growth in the next 30 years, but many of our allies and partners in the region face real threats.

To address these opportunities and challenges, we have to focus on our long-term relationships by bolstering mutual defense relationships, enhancing trade cooperation, collaborating on technology and research, forging more resilient and secure supply chains, and supporting democracies that have been threatened and attacked in recent years.

That’s why I joined Speaker Pelosi on a recent Congressional delegation to the region and to Taiwan.

We didn’t go to change the status quo.

The Taiwanese people are facing ongoing threats from the People’s Republic of China that would trample their vibrant democracy and put them under Beijing’s authoritarian rule.

The PRC’s recent military exercises and trade sanctions against Taiwan following our visit have further validated all of these concerns.

Now more than ever, we have to stand arm-in-arm with the people of Taiwan and our allies and partners across the Indo-Pacific region to continue to show that America’s commitment to freedom, democracy, and economic prosperity is unshakeable.

Americans have much in common with the people of Taiwan.

We both share a commitment to democracy, a desire for peace, an economy that rewards hard work and innovation, a penchant for freedom, and a commitment to civil liberties.

For example, Taiwan was the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, something we discussed while we were there.

And, for these reasons and more, we need to aid in Taiwan’s defense, support Taiwan’s democracy, and provide an alternative to China when it comes to trade, investment, and forging more resilient supply chains.

Taiwan is already a top trading partner for the United States, with a total trade worth over $100 billion in 2021 supporting over 200,000 American jobs.

Taiwan is the 7th largest export market for Washington state farmers, ranchers, and fishers, and one of the major airlines recently inked a deal to buy $4.6 billion worth of American aircraft, replacing an aging European-made fleet.

Taiwanese and American companies also collaborate closely on the production of cutting-edge technologies, like semiconductor computer chips and cloud computing.

But our trade relationship with Taiwan could be more robust.

And now is the time to seriously consider ways to deepen our trade cooperation for our mutual benefit.

And I know the American people agree.

The majority of Americans support pursuing a free trade agreement with Taiwan, according to a survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

We should build on the success of the historic and bipartisan US-Mexico-Canada Agreement to pursue strong labor and environmental standards with Taiwan, as well as rules to foster sustainable growth in the digital economy.

We should create opportunities to promote exports of U.S. services that employ three out of every four workers in my state.

We should study both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that, if eliminated, would benefit American families and create new opportunities for Washington farmers – and farmers across the country, but for Washington farmers in particular – to sell apples, wheat, potatoes, and a variety of other high-quality products in Taiwan.

And we should explore other opportunities to increase Taiwanese investments in the United States, such as by reducing double taxation or by taking advantage of the new incentives we passed in the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to build semiconductors and climate technologies here in America.

The Biden administration’s new US-Taiwan Initiative for 21st Century Trade is the right place to start these discussions.

I hope the administration follows through on its commitment to achieve meaningful trade outcomes as these talks progress.

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