R 341
2016 -- S 3052
Enacted 06/28/2016

J O I N T   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Senators Crowley, Picard, Cote, Walaska, and Lombardo
Date Introduced: May 26, 2016

     WHEREAS, The United States and the Republic of China (Taiwan) share a most
important relationship marked by a mutually beneficial partnership, and supported by our
common values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, and a free market economy; and
     WHEREAS, Former President Ma Ying-jeou worked tirelessly to uphold democratic
principles in Taiwan, ensure the prosperity of Taiwan's 23 million people, promote Taiwan's
international standing, and further improve relations between the United States and Taiwan; and
     WHEREAS, Taiwan and the United States share the common goal of peace in the East
China Sea, and Taiwan proposed an East China Sea Peace Initiative on August 5, 2012, urging all
parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid actions that could escalate confrontation in the
region, shelve disputes, not abandon dialogue, and observe international law to resolve disputes in
a peaceful manner; and
     WHEREAS, Taiwan proposed the South China Sea Peace Initiative on May 26, 2015 as a
practical, viable solution to set aside territorial disputes and focus on joint exploration,
cooperation, and development of economic resources. Taiwan urges all concerned parties to
shelve sovereignty disputes, observe international law, exercise restraint, safeguard peace and
stability, and refrain from unilateral action to ensure peace and stability; and
     WHEREAS, Taiwan has achieved a full democracy, replete with free and transparent
elections, including the election of the nation's first female President in May of 2016, and thereby
providing a beacon of hope and a model for all peoples in the Asia-Pacific region who desire to
live under freedom and democracy; and
     WHEREAS, The United States and Taiwan, and especially Rhode Island, share a
historically close relationship, marked by strong bilateral trade, educational and cultural
exchange, scientific and technological interests, and tourism; and
     WHEREAS, Taiwan has been a member of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program since
November 1, 2012, reflecting the friendship, trust and cooperation shared between our two
countries, and making travel between Taiwan and the United States for business and tourism even
more convenient, and since 2012, the number of Taiwan visitors to the United States has
increased by 40 percent annually, reaching almost half a million visitors in 2014; and
     WHEREAS, The United States ranks as Taiwan's 2nd largest trading partner, and Taiwan
is the 10th largest trading partner of the United States, with bilateral trade in goods and services
from January to November, 2015, between the United States and Taiwan amounting to $61.5
billion, and said trade has created or supported at least 400,000 United States jobs according to
the United States Department of Commerce. New England exported more than $1 billion in
goods to Taiwan of which Rhode Island exported $90.8 million in goods, mostly in primary
metal, chemicals, and machinery, making Taiwan Rhode Island's 2nd largest export market in
Asia and 7th largest export market in the world (2014); and
     WHEREAS, Talks on the Taiwan-US Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
(TIFA), resumed on March 10, 2013, and negotiations for a Bilateral Investment Agreement
(BIA) between Taiwan and the United States is an important step towards strengthening bilateral
trade and paving the way for entering into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between our countries,
thereby increasing Rhode Island's exports to Taiwan and creating greater bilateral investment and
technical collaboration; and
     WHEREAS, United States President Barack Obama and the leaders of eight Trans-
Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries announced the achievement of the broad outlines for a 21st
century TPP agreement on November 12, 2011, and later reached by twelve Pacific Rim countries
on October 5, 2015, and in which Taiwan, the 19th largest trading economy in the world, has
expressed a keen interest to participate, so as to forge close linkages among economies, enhance
competitiveness, and benefit consumers; and
     WHEREAS, Taiwan has attended the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
assembly as a special guest since 2013, and it remains in the interest of the traveling public that
Taiwan be included in the ICAO because Taiwan is a key transport hub in the Asia-Pacific region
and the Taipei Flight Information Region (TAIPEI FIR) under Taiwan's jurisdiction covers an
area of 176,000 square nautical miles with as many as 1.8 million controlled flights, most
international, with over 40 million travelers passing through annually, and Taiwan reiterates its
commitment to ICAO standards and seeks to expand its meaningful participation in the ICAO,
including attending technical and regional meetings, and related activities in 2016; and
     WHEREAS, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
adopted in Paris on December 12, 2015, is the world's key instrument to deal with climate change
and a concerted global effort to combat the challenges posed by climate change requires that
Taiwan be included in the work of the UNFCCC and Taiwan has expressed a keen interest to
participate in the global effort to address climate change; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That this General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations hereby reaffirms Joint Resolution 2015-H 5198 passed on March 6, 2015,
"Reaffirming the Friendship between the State of Rhode Island and Taiwan, Enhancing Bilateral
Trade Relations, and Supporting Taiwan in the International Community," and furthermore
commends Taiwan's 2016 Presidential election, Taiwan's role as peacemaker in the East and
South China Seas, and urges the signing of the U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement
(BIA) and Free Trade Agreement, so as to further strengthen Rhode Island-Taiwan trade
relations, and support Taiwan's participation in international organizations and agreements,
including UNFCCC, ICAO, and regional economic integration, including the TPP; and be it
     RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and hereby is authorized and directed to
transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of the
United States, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, Governor Gina Raimondo, President
Tsai Ing-wen, on behalf of the 23 million citizens of Taiwan, and Scott Lai, Director-General of
the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston.