Proposed U.S. law will make Taiwan arms sales more consistent: expert

Taiwan arms sales, US & taiwan

Taipei, April 9 (CNA) A bill introduced in the United States Senate Thursday would make U.S. policy on arms sales to Taiwan more consistent in the future, a defense expert told CNA Saturday.

The bill, dubbed the Taiwan Weapons Exports Act, would "fast-track weapons to Taiwan" by expediting Congressional approval and eliminating administrative roadblocks amid increasing tensions between Taiwan and China, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), who proposed the bill, said in a statement.

In particular, the bill seeks to re-designate Taiwan as a member of Country Group A:5 from its current Country Group A:6 for the purpose of receiving a strategic trade authorization license exception under the Export Administration Regulations, according to the statement.

Other countries in Country Group A:5 include NATO member states, Japan, Australia, South Korea, and India, the statement noted.

Commenting on the proposed legislation, Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), an analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said it would make the U.S. policy of arms sales to Taiwan more consistent.

Currently, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan are reviewed by the Department of State on a case-by-case basis and the time spent on each one can differ greatly, Su noted.

The bill, if passed and signed into law, would bring the review process into line with NATO members and other U.S. allies, Su said, adding it would also prevent disruptions in future sales of defense articles to Taiwan due to political factors.

Meanwhile, Chieh Chung (揭仲), an associate research fellow with the National Policy Foundation in Taipei, said the bill would also shorten the congressional review of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan from the current 30 days to 15 days.

Arms sales to major U.S. allies, such as NATO members, Israel, South Korea and Japan, require approval from Congress if a single deal is estimated to be over US$25 million, Cheih said, adding that Congressional review takes approximately 15 days.

Currently, any U.S. arms sales to Taiwan worth over US$14 million require congressional approval, with the review process taking up to 30 days, he added.

In addition, Chieh observed that when it comes to the sale of major defense articles and strategic technologies, the U.S. government tends to prioritize major allies.

The proposed legislation would pave the way for Taiwan to acquire advanced weapons and technologies like other U.S. major allies, he added.

On Saturday, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) thanked the senator for his consistent support of Taiwan, saying in a statement it would closely follow the progress of the proposed bill.

MOFA added Taiwan would continue working with the U.S. Congress and administration to further bilateral ties and contribute to stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Source: Focustaiwan

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