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Chairman Smith Committee Remarks: Taiwan Trade Legislation

June 13, 2023

As prepared for delivery.

“The people of the United States and the people of Taiwan share an invaluable economic partnership; we share democratic values; and we have strong individual ties between our two nations.


“That is why the Biden Administration’s decision to pursue an agreement to strengthen our trade relationship with Taiwan was appropriate, and I am pleased that the substance of the Initial Agreement with Taiwan is sound, building on provisions that were included in President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.


“Unfortunately, the way the Administration went about establishing this agreement was not only inappropriate, but also unconstitutional. It followed the same troubling pattern we have seen from this Administration when it comes to trade. In short, it attempted to exclude Congress from the process by claiming that it can bind the United States in trade agreements without approval from Congress.


“This not only creates serious challenges to the value and validity of such a trade agreement – it also flies in the face of the Congress’s sole constitutional authority over international trade.


“The legislation before us today regarding this Initial Agreement with Taiwan rights that wrong while confirming strong support for our partnership with Taiwan by providing congressional approval of this first step U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement. This bill requires that the Biden Administration work with Congress on any future agreements with Taiwan and sets up strict reporting and consultation provisions in law to hold the Administration accountable.


“It also ensures the American people – through their elected representatives – have a voice in trade negotiations by demanding a vote be held on any additional trade agreements with Taiwan. In addition to being required by the Constitution, a Congressional vote will make sure these trade agreements are in the best interest of American workers, families, farmers, and small businesses. Congress will only approve trade agreements that put American workers and families first and foremost.


“What’s particularly encouraging about this legislation is that it represents a bipartisan effort to reassert Congress’s constitutional authority. I am proud to join Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate in leading this effort. When it comes to trade, we are speaking with one voice that this Administration, or any Administration for that matter, must not circumvent Congress or the Constitution, and that the President does not have the authority to bind the United States in trade agreements without congressional involvement and approval.


“I appreciate this Committee taking up this bill and encourage all of you to support its adoption. This is important not just for our trade relationship with Taiwan but for the integrity of U.S. trade negotiations and Congress’s role in them.”