Today, Rep. Ed Royce joined members of the Formosa Foundation's Ambassador Program to highlight the need to expand U.S.-Taiwan trade relations. The Ambassador Program brings students to Washington, D.C. to help develop the expertise and contacts needed to promote the U.S. relationship with Taiwan. This year over 20 students participated in the program, meeting with members of Congress and their staffs.
"These students have shown a keen interest in learning about our political system, and are thoroughly engaged in helping promote issues of importance to the U.S. and Taiwan. These future leaders are an important bridge between the two nations," said Royce.
One focus of the student's meetings was U.S.-Taiwan trade ties. While ties remain strong, there is concern for the future. Taipei has launched trade talks with Singapore. Taiwan and Japan are expected to sign a trade pact this year. Six other economic agreements with various trading partners are under negotiation, and negotiations on an economic cooperation agreement with the EU are ongoing.
"Taiwan is moving ahead quickly with its trade agenda, with or without us. Not being party to agreements, of course means that U.S. businesses are made less competitive, hurting our economy."
While a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement - the main forum for Taiwan and the U.S. to discuss major economic issues -- was signed in 1994, there have been no negotiations since 2007. Royce and Rep. Gerald Connolly (VA) are circulating a letter for signature calling for the renewal of TIFA talks between the U.S. and Taiwan.
"We can't wait any longer to restart these talks needed to strengthen our economic and strategic partnership. That is why my colleagues and I will be writing President Obama, urging him to reinvigorate the TIFA. Letting it flounder will unnecessarily harm the U.S.-Taiwan relationship," said Royce.
Rep. Ed Royce is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and is a member of the Congressional Caucus on Taiwan.