Rick Scott Urges Trump Administration to Pursue Free Trade Deal With Taiwan

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is the latest member of the Florida delegation to call for a free trade agreement with Taiwan.

Scott wrote U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the matter this week, stressing the alliance and economic ties between the two nations.

“As the administration looks to build on the tremendous growth in free and fair trade relationships around the world, I encourage you to consider negotiating a trade deal with Taiwan. We must take concrete steps to recognize the importance of the Indo-Pacific region, and a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan is long overdue,” Scott wrote, pointing to the $94.5 billion trade relationship between the two nations.

“Taiwan is one of the largest foreign investors in the United States, and serves as a major recipient of U.S. investment, particularly in electronics. Critical technologies, including the semiconductor industry, have continued to surge even after Taiwan’s largest manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), parted ways with one of its largest customers, Huawei. Recent announcements that TSMC plans to build a $12 billion plant in Arizona has further proved that the U.S.-Taiwan partnership is strong,” Scott continued.

Scott also cheered the recent announcement that Taiwan will end its restrictions on American beef and pork.

“I urge the Trump administration and Taiwan to lead in building Indo-Pacific relationships, and look to bridge an intercontinental bond that can only strengthen global supply chains. As you do so, the administration should continue to work toward our shared vision of economic success and support democracy by beginning negotiations with Taiwan. Thank you for your leadership and continued attention to strengthening trade partnerships with our allies around the globe,” Scott wrote in conclusion.

Scott is not the only member of the Florida delegation who has been pushing for a free trade deal with Taiwan. U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho,  R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Agriculture and Foreign Affairs Committees and leads Republicans on the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, also praised the deal. So did U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., one of the chairmen of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus.

At the end of last year, more than 160 members of Congress urged Lighthizer to begin work on a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan. Besides Diaz-Balart and Yoho, members of the Florida delegation who signed that letter include Democrats U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala and Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney and Michael Waltz.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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