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Biden signs first part of US-Taiwan trade pact into law

Biden raises constitutional concerns about certain requirements

U.S. and Taiwan flags. (Getty Images)

U.S. and Taiwan flags. (Getty Images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday (Aug. 7) signed the first part of a trade agreement with Taiwan but reserved his constitutional authority to not conform to certain requirements.

The “United States-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade First Agreement Implementation Act” became legislation following year-long talks, encompassing the areas of small and medium enterprises, customs, judicial affairs, service industries, and anti-corruption practices.

In a White House statement, Biden said some sections “raise constitutional concerns” and that they will be treated as non-binding if they “impermissibly infringe upon my constitutional authority to negotiate with a foreign partner.”

These include sending negotiating texts to Congress, barring the United States Trade Representative (USTR) from transmitting proposed texts to Taiwan when they are being reviewed by Congress, and including Congress members in trade delegations and briefings.

John Deng (鄧振中), the top trade negotiator of Taiwan, said the next round of talks will focus on labor issues, environmental protection, and agriculture. The 21st-Century Trade pact is seen as groundwork for Taiwan to push a more conclusive free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S.

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week lauded the passage of the first act as “a first step of many in House Republicans’ continued efforts to support the people of Taiwan.”