When House Majority Leader Tom DeLay
delivered his keynote address at AEIís conference regarding a
U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement, he clearly voiced his staunch
support for free trade but perhaps even more importantly, he
expressed his disdain for the U.S.ís current One China Policy.
It is comforting to see such a high-level member of congress
express rather forcefully that the Policy is severely outdated and
incongruent with the current political/economic environment in
Taiwan and China. In a
time when Taiwan can be utilized as a vital democratic ally in the
war against terrorism, the United States must confront the
inadequacies of the One China Policy.
blamed the One China Policy for keeping Taiwan out of a Free Trade
Agreement with the United States, an agreement he considers mutually
beneficial and necessary. He backed up this statement by
providing numerous compelling reasons for Taiwan and the U.S. to
have open markets with each other. An FTA would be a great
symbolic as well as economic victory for Taiwan as it would be yet
another step towards international recognition.
What follows is DeLay's complete speech.
Free Trade with Free Taiwan By Tom DeLay
Posted: Monday, June 2, 2003
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE
I thank you all for coming and for the
gracious invitation to speak with you today about the prospects for
a Free Trade Agreement with Taiwan.
The arguments for such an agreement are so
numerous and apparent they hardly need to be reiterated. Taiwan is
already a major trading partner of the United States, to the tune of
$50.6 billion in 2002. Of that, we imported $32.2 billion worth of
goods and services from Taiwan, making it our eighth largest trading
partner. And they imported $18.4 billion worth from us, making the
United States Taiwan's single largest trading partner.
A formal American free trade agreement with
Taiwan would lower prices for American consumers on those goods and
services. In turn, it would lower - and eventually eliminate -
Taiwanese taxes on American exports. From this dollar-sign
perspective, American free trade with Taiwan makes as much sense as
American free trade with any other free nation.
Personally, I am one of the loudest proponents
of free trade in Congress. It helps our consumers, helps our
business community, creates jobs, and lowers hidden taxes on the
American people. It opens markets, breaks down economic, social and
political barriers, and sows the seeds of freedom. Free trade, then,
is a win-win economic proposition. But we do not just support free
trade with Taiwan because of its unique economic benefits.
We support free trade with Taiwan because that's what
democratic allies do. And Taiwan is an economic and political ally
of the United States, despite frequent and willful misinterpretation
of the "One China Policy". At the time the United States
established the "One China Policy", it was essentially a
diplomatic contrivance on which foreign servicemen could hold polite
conversations. Unfortunately, in the decades since its
establishment, the "One China" pretense has been elevated
by some to the status of "doctrine."
Some have wanted to transform this diplomatic nuance
into recognition of Beijing's territorial claim over Taiwan: a
recognition that has not and never will exist. These same people
believe America's primary objective in Asia is the preservation of
the "One China Policy," but the One China Policy - like
the peace process in the Middle East - is the means to the end, not
the end itself. America's primary objective in Asia - and everywhere
in the world - is the preservation of democracy and the expansion of
Luckily, we now have a President who understands the
foreign policy of a great nation must be a rock of moral and
political clarity, not a pillow of diplomatic pretensions. Think
about it. Pull back from the trees of diplomatic gobbledygook and
free trade agreements and self-serving labels like "strategic
partnership" and look at the big picture.
Indeed, when you look at the full scope of the issue,
the proposition of a communist takeover of Taiwan should be
The PRC is a backward, corrupt anachronism run
by decrepit tyrants: old apparatchiks clinging to their dying
regime. The notion that these oppressive and dangerous men could
convince the United States that their murderous ideology should be
imposed on a free and independent Taiwan is absurd. And refusing to
say so, for fear of upsetting Beijing, is not tact: it is
infantilism. That's why the House of Representatives has time and
again reinforced our support for Taiwan, including passing the
"Taiwan Security Enhancement Act," which I was proud to
introduce: because the American people "get it" even if
foreign policy elites does not.
President Bush has said himself the United States will
do "whatever it takes" to help Taiwan defend itself. We
must not allow a thriving democracy to be swallowed up by a
Communist dictatorship. As long as a free and democratic Taiwan,
willing to defend itself, needs help securing its borders, we will
be there. And - it's worth noting - the world is learning that these
days, the government of the United States means what it says. And
that is the bottom-line issue: the moral clarity of George W. Bush
and the nation he leads. Since September 11, 2001, President Bush
has brought that clarity to American foreign policy. Because he
understands that - for the foreseeable future - there will be no
such thing as a foreign policy question unrelated to the War on
Historians are fond of looking back on the
past and unearthing the interconnectedness of certain events, and
identifying patterns of behavior. And when they do, years from now,
they'll find that in President Bush, we have a man who sees these
connections and patterns, even as events unfold. He understands
that, like misery, evil loves company, and that it must be fought,
in all its forms, with all our means, for as long as it threatens
the security of the civilized world.
Because of this clarity, Al Qaeda is on the
run, 50 million Afghanis and Iraqis are free. And Yassir Arafat has
been removed from the negotiating table in Israel. That same clarity
led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the victory over fascism
in World War II. And that same clarity will ensure the course of
Asian history is set by free men and free nations.
It's our responsibility to make sure that
destiny is fulfilled. Just as there is no moral equivalence between
terrorists and innocent victims, there is no moral equivalence
between tyrannical regimes and free nations. Let me give you an
example of what I mean. Right now, the United States has concerns
with certain Taiwanese policies about intellectual property and
agriculture markets which would impact the development of any free
You see, tensions between democracies may
occasionally rise, but when they do, democratic governments talk
things out. On the other hand, when the People's Republic of China
feels such concerns, its government launches missiles into the
Taiwan Strait and threatens to incinerate Los Angeles.
Look at the crisis with North Korea, where the
James Bond terror fantasy of global nuclear blackmail is considered
a mainstream policy.
Look at the SARS outbreak in Communist China,
where a closed and self-interested government reacted too slowly to
keep the disease from infecting people around the world.
Yet at the same time and without
irony, Beijing sees keeping Taiwan out of the World Health
Organization as one of its prime objectives.
This kind of behavior is only as irresponsible
as it is predictable from regimes based on oppression and fear. And
make no mistake: the danger posed by Beijing and Pyong-yang are not
limited to Taiwan and South Korea. These regimes threaten the
security of the entire world. Asia is home to the majority of the
world's people, and it must be the goal of this nation to make sure
that one day all of them live in freedom.
We need to expand our ties with democratic
allies in the region. The future of Asia must reflect what we see in
Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
I have been to Taiwan and have seen the
vibrancy, the entrepreneurism, and the freedom in the eyes of its
citizens. The United States and our allies will not allow communism
and totalitarianism to regain their goose-stepping stride in Asia or
Many see Taiwan as an impediment to a more
stable world. But Taiwan, and threatened democracies like it in
unstable regions around the world, are not the problem: they are the
An economically robust and militarily secure
Taiwan is essential to the security of the United States and the
Pacific Rim. And our allies must know we will not falter in our
national mission to protect democracy.
We must be clear to our friends and foes
alike: the sun is rising over the darkness of terror and tyranny,
and of a new day of global freedom is dawning.
And, again, President George W. Bush
Under previous administrations, Taiwan's
president was treated like a second-class citizen. This
Administration treats him like the world leader he is. In fact, I
was fortunate enough to host President Chen in Houston in 2001 and
am happy to report he likes Texas pork barbecue a lot more than I
like Taipei pork liver soup. This president understands
America's blossoming relationship with Taiwan - from our security
commitments to the prospects of free trade - is part and parcel of
the War on Terror.
In this struggle, the interconnections among
security, prosperity, and freedom have never been tighter. If you
believe, as I do, as President Bush does - and I should add, as the
people of Taiwan do - that the civilized world must fight and defeat
terror, then the following goals are unavoidable.
We must cultivate and exploit opportunities
for economic growth - like free trade with Taiwan -- be they fiscal,
monetary, or commercial, so that we can meet the demands of the War
We must liberate the oppressed, and export
democracy because once people enjoy their first taste of freedom,
they only want more of it, and because free and democratic nations
tend not to threaten the peace of the world.
Every time a dictatorship becomes a democracy,
and a controlled economy becomes a free market economy, the United
States gains an ally and the forces of terror gain an enemy.
That is the underlying logic of the Bush
Doctrine: freedom begets prosperity, and prosperity begets security.
Freedom, prosperity, and security are the three mighty rivers of
civilization, and the hopes of all humanity are at their confluence.
But those rivers, however powerful, are all
obstructed, at different points along the way, by terror and
tyranny. The single test of any policy pursued by any nation is
whether that policy will reinforce those obstructions or break
A free trade agreement between the United
States and Taiwan will increase Asian prosperity and security. And
if history teaches us anything about prosperity and security, it is
that freedom - in Communist China, North Korea, and elsewhere -
won't be far behind.