Thu, Nov 01, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Taiwan, US ink pact to boost trade and business exchanges

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan External Trade Development Council Chairman Wang Chih-kang, second left, and US Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, second right, share a toast after they signed a statement of intent to strengthen trade cooperation during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

Taiwan and the US yesterday signed a statement of intent, paving the way for more bilateral trade and investment among small and medium-sized companies in the two countries.

The pact is also expected to help create job opportunities in both countries, US Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez said during a signing ceremony in Taipei.

Sanchez signed the statement on behalf of the US Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS), along with Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) Chairman Wang Chih-kang (王志剛).

“The statement of intent will help promote Taiwan as a commercial hub in the region, encourage US companies to exhibit at trade shows in Taiwan to target industries that hold the best opportunities for US companies here, and leverage both USFCS and TAITRA’s resources to promote the commercial relationship between the US and Taiwan,” Sanchez said. “It’s a win-win for both parties.”

For years, the US has expressed interest in using Taiwan as a gateway to China through the delegations it has sent to Taiwan, Wang said.

“Given Taiwan’s geographical advantages, we hope US companies can invest in Taiwan’s information and communications technology, green energy, biotechnology, education and tourism sectors, so that their made-in-Taiwan products can be exhibited in TAITRA’s exhibitions in China,” he said.

The statement of intent is an important step for deepening trade and investment ties between Taiwan and the US, as well as initiating the Pacific Bridge Initiative program.

Yesterday’s signing came after US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in September the two sides would resume bilateral talks under the long-stalled Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, and followed Taiwan’s inclusion in the US Visa-Waiver Program on Oct. 2.

However, Wang said the agreement was only in its initial stages and that the two countries needed to hold further discussions before solid impacts benefited people and businesses on both sides.

Sanchez is the highest-level official from the US Department of Commerce to visit Taiwan in a decade. Yesterday he also signed separate statements of intent with the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei, the New Taipei Importers and the Exporters Chamber of Commerce in the interest of further advancing bilateral trade relations.

He said Steve Olson, the executive director of investment promotion program SelectUSA, is scheduled to visit Taiwan soon to encourage more Taiwanese businesses to invest in the US.

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