Mon, Apr 07, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Americans start to change focus

`Taipei Times' staff reporter in Washington Charles Snyder recently met with Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, and discussed commerce and trade issues between the US and Taiwan, and China's influence.

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We will do some government meetings. Secretary Cohen will be traveling to Taiwan for the first time in his capacity as chairman of our council, although he's been to Taiwan many times in the past. And I look forward to seeing him develop the very strong dialogue that past chairmen of our organization have developed with Taiwan leadership.

We will be continuing that dialogue on a whole range of issues: intellectual property rights, agriculture, defense and security.

There will be a large number of issues that we will want to talk to people about. And, also to listen to Taiwan's business leaders. We'll spend some time with Taiwan's leading business people to talk about their interests, their investments in China, the sorts of trends that they are seeing. Secretary Cohen is very excited about his trip. He will have a very active number of days in Taiwan.

TT: Will he be seeing Chen Shui-bian?

Hammond-Chambers: I certainly hope so. If President Chen is available, I think it would be appropriate for Secretary Cohen to see him, but well have to see how the schedule works out. President Chen is a very busy man.

TT: Do you think that China might get its nose out of joint over a former defense secretary visiting Taiwan and seeing the president and other leaders?

Hammond-Chambers: Not at all. Former defense secretaries go to Taiwan all the time, and to China. Our past chairman, Frank Carlucci, often would visit Taiwan and then China on the same trip.

Secretary [William] Perry was there when Secretary Carlucci and myself were in Taiwan last November as part of Track Two, and there's a great deal of travel taking place: Cap [Casper] Weinberger traveled to Taiwan many, many times and China as well. So, not at all ...

TT: On trade itself, the US Trade Representative's office just issued its latest report on foreign trade barriers, and had some tough words to say about Taiwan in terms of intellectual property rights, piracy, agriculture and some other areas. What comments would you have on the report itself and how this is affecting US-Taiwan relations?

Hammond-Chambers: On the report itself, Charles Freeman and the people that Charles works for in the US Trade Representative's office are just a superb outfit. They're as good as the USTR has ever had. They're very active. They really understand the issues, and they have put together a report that absolutely identifies the key issues in our bilateral trade relationship with Taiwan at the moment.

These are issues, I am quite sorry to say, that have been issues for quite some time and as an organization, just as other organizations that deal with Taiwan would also say, I believe, we are all frustrated at the seeming inability of Taiwan to be more aggressive in dealing with a whole host of issues that are negatively impacting our bilateral relationship: optical media, IPR violations, agriculture, issues in pharmaceuticals, the same issues that we've been dealing with for a number of years now ...

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