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The Maine Legislature's Official Support for Taiwan and the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement

As a matter of reference, I am posting this statute passed by the Maine Legislature in 2013 and transmitted to President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan and to the Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston.

The Taiwan Relations Act of the United States was signed into law in 1979 permitting "unofficial" relations between Taiwan and the USA:

In addition to this provision, the TRA provides for the continuation of “unofficial” diplomatic ties between the two societies. Washington maintains an “unofficial” embassy in Taipei (the American Institute in Taiwan or AIT), while Taipei operates an “unofficial” embassy in Washington, D.C. (the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office or TECRO). Both sides also operate “unofficial” consulate offices. These entities manage travel documents, facilitate communication with local authorities, and represent their respective governments when negotiating commercial and other agreements Policy Brief Series: The Taiwan Relations Act- the Wilson Center

The relations are maintained as unofficial in order not to offend the One China Policy.

Maine is not the United States, but none the less, enacting this declaration into law is an official act. There is legal wiggle room (such as Maine is not a state government but a public-private corporation).However, one wonders why the Maine Legislature would transgress a United States foreign policy. Were there back room deals in the works?

Since Maine became a corporate state in the 1970', under the Longley Doctrine, the Legislature and the administration function more like the heads of a state corporation than a government by and for the people of Maine. "Manufacturing" by the state corporation often means prototype manufacturing,only for products which will eventually be produced in global low cost labor markets and that market is dominated by state manufacturing at The Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine. The study written in support of the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement, and resting on selective facts and data, is also produced by the University of Maine, which is a significant arm of Maine State Inc.

This declaration by the Maine Legislature calls for Taiwan to be included in the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement. Donald Trump has since pulled the US out of that agreement but it is likely not the end of the story as other administrations can make other decisions.

I am posting this here as an reference point. I came across the testimony in Citizen Trade Policy Commission, dated September 15, 2016. This is another project of the Maine Legislature. Although it is called the "Citizen" Trade Policy Commission, I couldn't help but notice that all the citizen testimony was against what the board of the corporate state was proposing.

There is reference to a study:The Trans-Pacific Partnership:The Economic Implications for Maine by Catherine Reilly deLutio and Philip A. Trostel

Both the study and the citizen testimony look time consuming to read but I have decided to dig into this.

At first glance I do not see any mention about this resolution passed by he Legislature of  Maine, three years previous to the testimonies, which seems significant enough to mention.


JOINT RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE STATE OF MAINE AND THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA
 WHEREAS,  the United States and the Republic of China, known as Taiwan, share a most important relationship supported by our common values of freedom, democracy, rule of law and commitment to a free market economy; 
 andWHEREAS,  President Ma Ying-jeou has worked tirelessly to uphold democratic principles in Taiwan, ensure the prosperity of Taiwan's more than 23,000,000 people, promote Taiwan's international standing and further improve relations between the United States and Taiwan; 
andWHEREAS,  Taiwan and the United States, and especially the State of Maine, share a historically close relationship, marked by tourism, strong bilateral trade, educational and cultural exchange and scientific and technological interests; 
andWHEREAS,  Taiwan is a member of the United States Visa Waiver Program, which reflects the friendship, trust and cooperation shared between our 2 countries and makes travel between Taiwan and the United States for business and tourism even more convenient; 
andWHEREAS,  the United States ranks as Taiwan's 3rd-largest trading partner; Taiwan was the 16th-largest trading partner of the United States in 2012; and bilateral trade in goods and services between the United States and Taiwan reached $85,000,000,000 in 2011; 
andWHEREAS,  New England exported approximately $1,400,000,000 in goods to Taiwan, of which Maine exported approximately $15,500,000 in goods, mostly in machinery, transportation equipment and paper;
 andWHEREAS,  negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the United States are an important step towards strengthening bilateral trade and entering into a free trade agreement between our countries, thereby increasing Maine's exports to Taiwan and creating greater bilateral investment and technical collaboration; 
 andWHEREAS,  President Barack H. Obama and the leaders of the 8 other Trans-Pacific Partnership countries announced the achievement of the broad outlines for a 21st-century agreement on November 12, 2011, in which Taiwan has expressed a keen interest to participate, in order to establish close links between economies, enhance competitiveness and benefit consumers; 
andWHEREAS,  the Asia-Pacific region is the largest market in the world for United States exports and many of Maine's total exports went to markets in the Asia-Pacific region; the export of Maine goods supports an estimated 21,000 jobs; and 2010 data indicate that 1,347 companies exported goods from Maine; 
 andWHEREAS,  Taiwan is the 17th-largest trading economy in the world and is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which promotes free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region; 
 andWHEREAS,  the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the world's key instrument for responding to climate change, and a concerted global effort to combat the challenges posed by climate change requires that Taiwan also be included in the work of this convention, and Taiwan has expressed a keen interest to participate in the global effort to address climate change; 
 andWHEREAS,  it remains in the interest of the traveling public that Taiwan be included in the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization, since Taiwan is a key transport hub in the Asia-Pacific region; the Taipei Flight Information Region, under Taiwan's jurisdiction, covers an area of 176,000 square nautical miles with 1,350,000 controlled flights passing through annually; now, therefore, be it
 RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, on behalf of the people we represent, take this opportunity to affirm the friendship between Maine and the Republic of China; and be it further
RESOLVED: That We support the signing of a United States-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement and a free trade agreement in order to further strengthen Maine-Taiwan trade relations, and We support Taiwan's participation in international organizations and agreements, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization and the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and be it further
 RESOLVED: That suitable copies of this resolution, duly authenticated by the Secretary of State, be transmitted to President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan and to the Director-General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston.


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