November 15, 2021

Crapo Participates in Congressional Delegation to Southeast Asia to Support Trade Agreements, Security of Indo-Pacific

Congressional Delegation Met with Officials in the Philippines, Taiwan, and India to Strengthen Ties with Critical Allies and Partners to Counter Chinese Aggression

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) has returned from a congressional delegation led by U.S. Senator and India Caucus Co-Chair John Cornyn (R-Texas) after visiting key allies and partners in Southeast Asia.  The delegation, which also included Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) and Representatives Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Jake Ellzey (R-Texas), supported Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM)’s mission to continue to build security cooperation in the region and strengthen bilateral ties with key allies following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Crapo spoke with the leaders of critical Indo-Pacific nation allies about shared efforts to combat China’s manufacturing imbalances, and threats to free and fair trade.  Senator Crapo has repeatedly emphasized that the Administration cannot idly stand by as China advances its own trade priorities in the region; the United States must lead by forging ambitious new trade deals with our allies.

Senator Crapo’s Trade Act of 2021, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate in May, combats China’s unfair trade practices, including censorship, and strengthens our relationship with allies, including by reauthorizing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program--for the longest extension in the history of the program--and supporting the negotiation of digital trade agreements.

In connection with his official duties as a senior member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Senator Crapo participated in conversations about sanctions on Russia and Iran as well as additional efforts to combat national security threats from foreign investment, illicit finance and other economic issues.

“China’s encroaching aggression in the Indo-Pacific region is a threat to international and regional security,” said Senator Crapo.  “Our congressional delegation trip to the region allowed us to hear firsthand the issues facing our partners in the region.  Combatting illicit finance and addressing other economic issues in the area is critical for furthering deterrence from additional international aggressors like Russia and Iran.  Moreover, recent supply chain shortages have highlighted the critical importance of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to the basic functioning of the tools we need here in America for everyday life.  Engaging in stronger and more consistent discussions on important and robust trade agreements with these partners remains a focus of my work at the Senate Finance Committee.  Finally, we must continue to support Taiwan to ensure it remains economically and defensibly secure, confident and free from China’s increasing efforts to militarily overwhelm the island.”

The delegation began their travels by meeting with the newly installed USINDOPACOM Commander, Admiral John Aquilino, who oversees the oldest and largest combatant command.  After giving the group a broad situational overview, Admiral Aquilino conveyed his priorities for all branches of the military in the region, which spans from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the western border of India.

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The delegation on the USS John Paul Jones with Commanding Officer Robert Watts.

In the Philippines, the delegation met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr., and received an update on efforts to counter China’s influence in the region.  Later, the members saw firsthand Chinese maritime military activity in the disputed South China Sea.

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The delegation, Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava, and the aircrew of a Philippines-based U.S. Navy P-8 before an overflight of the South China Sea.

To learn how the U.S. can best support Taiwan’s development of domestic asymmetric defense capabilities and discuss trade relations, the delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen, along with defense and foreign affairs leadership in Taipei.  They also visited the world’s largest semiconductor foundry to tour a fabrication facility and receive a briefing about China’s efforts to threaten Taiwanese chipmaking and destabilize this critical supply chain.

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The delegation meets with President Tsai and members of Taiwan’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense.

After landing in India, the group met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cabinet officials in New Delhi.  They discussed support for Quad countries and important trade priorities.  This visit marked the delegation’s travel from one end of the USINDOPACOM Theater to the other.

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Members of the delegation discussed issues important to the U.S. and India with Prime Minister Modi.

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The delegation meets with Chargé D’Affaires Patricia Lacina at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.

Lastly, the delegation had an audience with the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who spoke with the group about shared values for religious freedom and human rights, and China’s repression and persecution of Tibetans.

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The delegation talks with the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

The delegation thanks the U.S. military overseas in USINDOPACOM, the staff of U.S. embassies in the region and the leaders and dignitaries of their host countries and partners for their hospitality and service.