US House passes first trade bill under US-Taiwan initiative
The bill sees deeper cooperation between the two parties to form a comprehensive trade framework for enhanced business relations.
The United States takes a new step to deepen trade relations with Taiwan, further breaching claimed adherence to the "One China" policy.
US House of Representatives approved on Wednesday the first deal under the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade inked on June 1 and voted to require that Congress conducts more consultations for future discussions.
The bilateral agreement includes a framework to streamline customs procedures between the two parties, anti-corruption measures, tax coordination, and assisting small businesses to integrate in both markets.
The legislation, which will now move to a Senate vote, was revealed in early June by bipartisan leaders in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and the sponsor of the House bill said that “the relationship between the United States and Taiwan is vital to US interest in the Indo-Pacific.”
“This initial trade agreement negotiated by the Biden administration is a good step...it shows the world the Chinese Communist Party will not intimidate the United States from deepening our relationship with Taiwan,” Republican Representative Jason Smith said on Wednesday.
“Congress is sending a bipartisan message to President [Joe] Biden today that we will not sit idly by as the administration ignores our constitutional role in developing US trade policy."
Under the law, the US Trade Representative must present to Congress any future discussion texts require before sharing them with Taiwan or any external parties. It also states that Congress is provided with daily updates during discussions and any drafts introduced by Taiwan within a three-day timeframe.
The bill also dictates that the US President must make the agreement text public 60 days before adopting the deal and introduce a legislation approving it as a law.
The head of the US-Taiwan Business Council considered that the bilateral agreement reveals “incremental ambition” for enhanced trade ties with the island.
“It creates some momentum, it creates more ambition,” Rupert Hammond-Chambers said.
But in the absence of a "broader consensus on trade and the hostility to free trade agreements in many quarters of the United States, navigating a robust aspirational trade policy toward Taiwan will become more complex,” he added.
China Central Television CCTV reported on Monday that Chinese Central Foreign Affairs Office Director Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Beijing will not compromise on the Taiwan issue and that the US must respect the sovereignty of China.
During Blinken's diplomatic visit to China, Wang informed him that the US must respect the one-China principle as per the three joint US-China communiques, respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose Taiwan separatism.
"On this issue, China has no room to compromise or concede."
"It is necessary to make a choice between dialogue and confrontation, cooperation or conflict," he cautioned.