US Elected Officials Push For US Preclearance Facility In Taiwan

Taoyuan International Airport’s previously made an application to join the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Preclearance facility at the end of last year. This move followed an announcement that agency was inviting new airports to participate in the program for the first time in four years. Now, United States elected officials are pushing for the progression of this initiative.

Eva Air Boeing 777
Passengers flying to the United States with Taiwanese carriers would benefit from the program. Photo: Getty Images

A strong backing

Signatories of the letter include senators Marco Rubio, Gary C. Peters, John Cornyn, James M. Inhofe, and Mitt Romney. Members of Congress Jim Banks, Ed Case, Adam Kinzinger, and Mario Diaz-Balart also signed the document.

The signatories shared that they support the preclearance facility at Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan. They highlight that this move would advance the ease of travel between the US and Taiwan. It would also reinforce the importance of the country’s relationship with Taiwan.

China Airlines plane at Taoyuan International Airport
There are regular flights to the US from Taiwan. Photo: Getty Images

Plenty of potential

Ultimately, there are several benefits to be had with the program. The politicians recognize that adding Taiwan could bring further developments across the board.

“As you know, Congress has funded preclearance facilities as they ease travel for both Americans and foreigners flying into the United States. By conducting immigration and customs screening at the point of departure, CBP is able to stop inadmissible travelers before they board the plane, and legitimate travelers are able to bypass long lines upon arrival,”

“Airlines also are able to park precleared flights at far more gates at airports in the United States than international flights that require screening upon landing. A reduction in the number of arriving passengers who must be screened will ease crowding at domestic CBP facilities, and less busy facilities will make inbound travel easier for everyone. The benefits, which are numerous, will be fully realized as we continue to take steps in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The letter adds that Taiwan is an excellent option for CBP. Presently, all of the present preclearance facilities abroad are located in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. However, the Indo-Pacific region is a crucial area for the US economic future, according to the letter.

China Airlines 747 cargo getty
Taiwan and the US have strong business connections. Photo: Getty Images

A natural choice

Notably, Taoyuan International Airport already provided several nonstop services to the US. It’s also a key transit point in Asia. The letter concudes that Taiwan is the US’ ninth-largest trading partner and its authorities firmly supports Taoyuan’s bid for the facility.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests!

Overall, the CBP shares that preclearance is the strategic stationing of its law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect passengers before boarding flights to the US. The initiative looks to streamline border procedures while cutting down congestion at ports of entry. It’s also supposed to facilitate travel between the preclearance locations and ports unequipped to handle international travelers.

In 2019, personnel working under the program precleared 22 million travelers. Over 16% of all of those entering the US went though the program. So, if approved, passengers from Taiwan would be in for far smoother travel work preclearance.

What are your thoughts about US elected officials pushing for the US preclearance facility in Taiwan? Do you feel that this is a good move for the industry? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.