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Wexler Writes to ITC

May 22, 2002

The Honorable Steve Koplon
United States International Trade Commission
500 E Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20436

Dear Mr. Chairman

As Co-Chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, I am writing to you concerning the fact-finding investigation now in progress at the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on the likely economic impact of a free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan (Investigation No. 332-438).

As you know, Taiwan has been one of America's most important trading partners for many years. Incredibly, Taiwan has only 23 million people yet is the 10th largest export market overall for the United States and the 5th largest US export for agricultural products. American businesses and workers have benefitted greatly from this dynamic trade relationship. In my home state of Florida export shipments to Taiwan in 2001 were valued at $158 million, with computer and electronic products, machinery and chemicals among the leading categories. In addition, Florida has become a top tourist destination for visitors from Taiwan.

As a strong supporter for upgrading our overall trade relations with Taiwan, I believe that the proposed free trade agreement between the United States and Taiwan merits careful evaluation and deserves strong support. I am encouraged that the USITC's study should help to document the ways in which the US and Taiwanese economies are closely interlinked, such as in the computer and electronics sector. Likewise, the report will help Members of Congress and the Bush administration understand the ways in which both economies are evolving, so we can use the free trade agreement to find new opportunities for US producers, workers and farmers.

Mr. Chairman, while Taiwan is an important US market in its own right, it also provides an extraordinary opportunity for US investors to expand their presence in Asia through business partnerships with Taiwanese firms. I am convinced that a proposed free trade agreement will help US entrepreneurs take advantage of many new opportunities both in Taiwan and throughout Asia.

I look forward to reviewing the results of the study and to examine how the U.S. and Taiwan can use the proposed free trade agreement to the mutual advantage of both peoples.

With warm regards,

Robert Wexler




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