Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate passed legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee; it now heads to the President’s desk.  Royce’s legislation, H.R. 1151, which passed the House of Representatives last week, calls for the Secretary of State to endorse Taiwan’s entry into the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Chairman Royce on the bill’s passage:  "The passage of H.R. 1151 by the Congress is a landmark occasion in the history of U.S.-Taiwan relations.  For over 40-years, Taiwan has not had a seat at the International Civil Aviation Organization, an organization which is responsible for setting international aviation safety standards.  Everyone who boards a plane from Southern California to Taiwan would benefit as a result of Taiwan's inclusion in ICAO. 

"The number of flights from Taiwan to the U.S. has greatly increased after Taiwan's inclusion into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program last year.  Helping Taiwan access the latest in civil aviation safety is the right thing to do, and it is in the best interest of public safety.  Just as Taiwan was admitted to the World Health Organization, so too should Taiwan be allowed to join ICAO.  With the passage of my legislation today, we are taking a very big step towards achieving this goal."

Last year, Chairman Royce successfully championed legislative efforts to grant visa waiver travel from Taiwan to the United States.  In the first four months of 2013, over 80 percent of all visitors from Taiwan travelled visa-free to the U.S.  As a result of a dramatic increase in air traffic, it is more important than ever to help Taiwan gain access to ICAO.  Specifically, the legislation directs the State Department to develop and execute a strategy to secure Taiwan’s entry into ICAO’s triennial Assembly, to be held this September in Montreal, Canada.  It also requires the State Department to actively seek other ICAO member states’ support for Taiwan’s participation.