Proactive trade policy |

Proactive trade policy

I participated in a Ways and Means Committee hearing on the future of our trade relationship with Taiwan. The hearing explored opportunities provided by ongoing trade talks between the U.S. and Taiwan. In the midst of increased pressure from China through dialed-up military exercises and heavier tariffs, Taiwan is eager to strengthen ties with the U.S. and our democratic values. Done right, expanding our trade relationship could be a win for American businesses and consumers, and a win for democracy. Alternatively, the consequences of sitting on the sidelines while China shapes the global marketplace to its benefit are devastating.

President Biden and his administration seem to be content taking a reactive approach on trade strategies, relying on vague frameworks instead of doing the hard work of negotiating a traditional trade agreement. Still, I am looking for ways to fill the vacuum left by the administration by working to aggressively utilize the oversight responsibility Congress has over trade. We must spur momentum on a proactive trade agenda that protects American innovation, brings new markets for American goods, and alleviates some of the supply chain and workforce pressures our nation is facing.

With Taiwan being the sixth largest U.S. wheat export market and the seventh largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products, there are promising opportunities in Taiwan. It was a privilege to join a delegation from Taiwan, including Ambassador Bi-khim Hsaio, recently at a signing ceremony for letters of intent to purchase an estimated total of $3.2 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn, and wheat. The letters were signed by the Taiwan Flour Millers Association and the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the U.S. Grains Council, and the U.S. Wheat Associates as part of the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission.

These letters of intent are strong steps in the right direction but there is still more we can do. Our district is home to some of the most productive farm and ranch land in the world, and on a level playing field, American goods fare well competitively. However, Taiwan will look elsewhere if we do not step up to the plate. While we are forfeiting opportunities in the administration’s frameworks, Taiwan is applying to join other traditional trade agreements that give other nations access to their markets, like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. If we are not careful, we will find American goods at a serious disadvantage.

As others around the world are looking for U.S. economic leadership in the face of regional bullies like China and Russia, I’m hopeful both the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and U.S.-Taiwan Trade Initiative talks lead to positive results that lead to increased opportunities for American products. During this process, we must ensure American exports are treated fairly, including agriculture, and we need the tools to get us across the finish line, namely Trade Promotion Authority.

Taiwan is seeking American economic diplomacy and American goods, and this – along with the hearing and Senate action on a bill to strengthen U.S. policy toward Taiwan – show Congress is paying attention. And we’ve seen recent bipartisan successes on trade. Momentum is key when working toward trade agreements, and promising opportunities exist not just in Asia, but around the world, including the United Kingdom and Kenya. I’m hopeful that capitalizing on these opportunities and in the Indo-Pacific will demonstrate to the world the U.S. is the economic beacon, not China.

Growing our trade relationships while enforcing the commitments we’ve received from other countries is more important than ever before, especially considering the supply chain and workforce pressures we’re seeing around the world. Trade is an essential component of a strong domestic economy and is critically important to American agriculture. As we look to the future, I will continue to push proactive policies to help our economy flourish.


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