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US Senator Robert Portman promotes idea of FTA with Taiwan

Claims FTA more important than Taiwan membership of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

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U.S. Senator Robert Portman in conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen Friday. 

U.S. Senator Robert Portman in conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen Friday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Members of the United States Congress delegation visiting Taipei said Friday (April 15) that a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan was more important than the country’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

Speaking to reporters during the visit, Senator Robert Portman said Taiwan should be included in IPEF, but it was even more important that the U.S. and Taiwan sign an FTA, the Liberty Times reported.

The FTA will be an enormous boost to bilateral economic relations, according to the Ohio Republican. He added that its signing would also contribute to regional political stability and to U.S. national security.

A letter by Portman in support of an FTA with Taiwan was signed by 43 senators. More were preparing to join, thanks to an unprecedented consensus in Congress in Taiwan’s favor, according to Senator Lindsey Graham.

Doubts about the Asian democracy’s participation in IPEF have arisen since U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reportedly said during a closed-door meeting the Biden administration was not considering including the country in next month’s launch of the new group.