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Lieberman Promotes US FTAs With Asia

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

06 November 2011

Senator Joseph Lieberman (I - Connecticut), during a speech delivered at the Heritage Foundation regarding United States policy in the Asia-Pacific, has emphasized that America needs an ambitious, forward-looking, and strategically-minded trade policy for the region.

Within a variety of initiatives to deepen and strengthen US engagement across the Asia-Pacific region, he said that the US should recognise that “while countries in the region are eager to enjoy the opportunities created by China’s growth, they also worry about growing overly-dependent on Beijing.”

However, he added, despite the completion of the South Korea-US free trade agreement (FTA), “the fact remains that the US has not yet signed a single new FTA during the Obama Administration. According to one recent analysis, more than 300 trade agreements have either been concluded or being negotiated in the Asia-Pacific, but none of which include the US.”

Nevertheless, he was of the opinion that it was not too late – “the Obama Administration has pledged to push forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would liberalize trade with eight Pacific Rim countries. This is a promising American initiative and must be treated as nothing less than a national security priority.”

He concluded that more is required, and that, “in particular, it is past time for Washington to negotiate an FTA with Taiwan, whose commerce with mainland China is arguably now more free than its trade with the U.S. In addition, we must redouble our efforts to conclude a bilateral investment treaty with India, with the clearly stated goal of concluding a full FTA with New Delhi before the decade is out.”

“And while we are thinking of bold new steps, we should also actively explore the possibility of an FTA with Japan, which would be a true game changer for the region.”

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | India | China | Taiwan | agreements | United States | trade | Japan

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