US think tank scholar urges US and Taiwan to negotiate free trade deal

The founder of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., met with President Tsai on Jan. 31 in Taipei

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Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., founder of the Heritage Foundation, meets with President Tsai Ing-wen on Jan. 31 in Taipei (Source: CNA)

Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., founder of the Heritage Foundation, meets with President Tsai Ing-wen on Jan. 31 in Taipei (Source: CNA)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the trade war between the United States and China continues to intensify, Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., founder of the Washington-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation, considers it high time for the U.S. and Taiwan to negotiate for a free trade agreement to further strengthen bilateral economic ties.

“I urge my colleagues in the United States to work very closely with you in terms of moving toward a bilateral free trade agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan," remarked Feulner while meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday morning at the Presidential Office.

An agreement as such will serve “both our nations’ interests” and “greatly strengthen the economic ties that we have already enjoyed so much,” added Feulner.

After presenting President Tsai with a copy of the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, a report published annually by the Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Wall Street Journal, Feulner applauded Taiwan for ranking 10th in the world for economic freedom, the best score ever for the nation.

Building a nation with an open economy and free trade has been a goal for the administration, said President Tsai, adding that the government will continue to promote democracy and refine the rule of law while striving to achieve the structural transition of the nation’s economy.

The president also expressed gratitude for the support from the U.S. Congress and Trump administration for Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), including its annual conference, the World Health Assembly (WHA), where Taiwan has been denied observer status since 2017.

The Taiwan government looks forward to advancing collaboration with the United States and to making more contributions to the world, said the president.