A Florida Republican congressman is continuing his efforts to build economic ties with Mongolia. Why Mongolia? Because it's a friend and it's strategically located nation between two major powers, China and Russia.
Now in his fourth term in Congress, earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., the top Republican on the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, introduced the “Mongolia Third-Neighbor Trade Act” in the House along with U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev. On the other side of Capitol Hill, U.S. Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Ben Cardin, D-Mary.., are championing the proposal.
The United States and Mongolia share a strong democratic partnership, called a ‘third neighbor’ relationship, because Mongolia shares land borders with only Russia and China,” Yoho’s office noted. “The Mongolia Third Neighbor Trade Act will allow duty-free entry of Mongolian cashmere into the United States. This will benefit the U.S.-Mongolia relationship by facilitating increased trade between the two countries, support an important sector of the Mongolian economy, and reduce U.S. imports of Chinese cashmere products.”
Yoho, who was the chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee when the GOP controlled the chamber and who served a stint as the vice chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered some of the rationale behind the bill when he introduced it.
“The Mongolia Third-Neighbor Trade Act is not just about imports of cashmere; it is smart policy that supports a strong, independent Mongolia that continues to be a beacon of freedom in the region and a strategic partner of the United States,” Yoho said. “It is estimated that this simple act will create upwards of 40,000 jobs primarily for women who make up ninety percent of the garment industry in Mongolia. We look forward to this strong bipartisan, bicameral legislation being passed under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership and signed into law by President Trump.”
Yoho’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee back in April which sent it to its Trade Subcommittee. Since then, Yoho has reeled in more than 40 cosponsors in the House including U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla.
In recent weeks, Yoho has doubled down on his efforts to push his proposal. Last week, he included his ally President Donald Trump in a tweet promoting the bill.
“The Mongolia Third-Neighbor Trade Act will facilitate job and economic growth, which benefits both our countries. Strengthening an ally, a stable democracy in a sea of authoritarianism, is smart policy,” Yoho insisted.
At the start of the month, Yoho met with Mongolian President Battulga Khaltmaa about increased trade.
“We discussed the important ‘third neighbor’ relationship that our countries share and how we can advance our mutual priorities by promoting U.S.-Mongolia trade,” Yoho noted.
First elected to Congress in 2012 after upsetting longtime U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in the Republican primary, Yoho promised to retire in 2020 but has not yet officially announced his plans for the next election cycle.