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Johnson Measure to Boost Economic Relations with Taiwan Clears Full Assembly

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson to boost New Jersey’s economic relations with Taiwan unanimously cleared the full Assembly on Thursday.

The measure (ACR-190) urges the governor and lieutenant governor to establish a foreign trade office in Taiwan in order to strengthen trade relations with China and to promote and support greater investment and economic cooperation between New Jersey and Taiwan.

“The United States, and New Jersey in particular, share common ideals with Taiwan and a clear vision for the 21st century where freedom and democracy are the foundations of peaceful progress and prosperity,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Taiwan is one of the strongest democratic allies of the United States in the Asia-Pacific region and we should do everything we can to strengthen and foster that relationship.”

Johnson noted that New Jersey and Taiwan have maintained a friendly and fruitful relationship for nearly 25 years since entering into a Sister State agreement in 1989. In the catastrophic wake of Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, Taiwan’s government, as an expression of its deep concerns for the people of New Jersey, came to their immediate aid and offered $100,000 towards the Hurricane Sandy relief fund.

With Taiwan’s inclusion in the United States Visa Waiver Program last year 2012, the U.S. and New Jersey are poised to witness a rapid growth in all areas of bilateral development.

“With Taiwan being among the largest trading partners of the United States and the United States being one of the largest exporters to Taiwan, establishing a foreign trade office makes sense,” added Johnson. “New Jersey should promote and support greater economic cooperation with Taiwan, as the United States and Taiwan enjoy one of the most important economic and strategic international relationships that exist today.”

Johnson pointed to further evidence of this relationship with the fact that in 2012, Taiwan was New Jersey’s 19th largest export market with $537 million worth of products exported, including aircraft, spacecraft, and related parts, precious stones and metals, and electric and industrial machinery.

While 20 of the United States’ top 500 companies are headquartered in New Jersey, 11 of those 20 companies have operations or research and development centers in Taiwan, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Honeywell International, Allied Signal, Noveda Technologies, and Telcordia; and

More than 100 Taiwan companies have invested in this State, including Formosa Plastics Corporation, EVA Air, Evergreen Marine, Yang Ming Marine Transport, and AAEON Electronics, Inc.; and

Johnson’s legislation urges the Governor, and the Lieutenant Governor, to take an especially keen interest in the further development and enhancement of New Jersey’s relationship with Taiwan.

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.