Thu, Feb 23, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Top US commerce official to visit Taipei

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Early next month, an official from the US Department of Commerce is scheduled to visit Taiwan, the highest-profile visit by a US commerce official in a decade, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said in a press statement yesterday.

US Department of Commerce Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez is scheduled to visit Taipei from March 4 to March 6, the AIT said. Sanchez will be the highest-ranking official from the department to visit Taipei since then-undersecretary of commerce for international trade Grant Aldonas visited Taiwan in 2002, AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said.

During his stay in Taiwan, Sanchez will meet with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other officials, as well as business leaders, the AIT said.

Sanchez will deliver a speech titled “Opening New Doors of Opportunity: The Future of the US–Taiwan Commercial Relationship” at an event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei.

In his speech, Sanchez is expected to highlight US President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative and the Select-USA program — both designed to strengthen economic ties with global partners — as well as outline steps to expand opportunities and advance prosperity in both countries, the chamber of commerce said on its Web site.

The AIT said Sanchez would also make a speech at the ongoing My Dream Vacation USA — Great Outdoors event, co-hosted by the commercial section of the AIT and the Taiwan Visit USA Committee, which promotes tourism to the US and features a different theme each quarter throughout the year.

Sanchez heads the department’s International Trade Administration, whose mission it is to promote fair trade in the global economy; create jobs and economic growth by promoting US companies and products; strengthen US competitiveness across all industries; address market access and compliance issues; administer US trade laws; and undertake a range of trade promotion and trade advocacy efforts, the AIT said.

Obama’s National Export Initiative aims to double US exports by the end of 2014.

In a speech to the local business community in Taipei in September last year, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce Suresh Kumar said that the US wants to see Taiwan play a leading role in its efforts to increase US exports as the Obama administration seeks to fulfill its commitment of opening more markets.

When asked if the US beef issue would be a main topic of discussion during Sanchez’s visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the commerce department generally deals with export expansion and tourism, while the US beef issue is being handled by the Office of the US Trade Representative.

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