Officials of the US-ROC Business Council expressed hope Wed-nesday at a year-end gathering that a free-trade agreement (FTA) can be inked with Taiwan, saying that such a pact would further advance bilateral trade and commercial ties.
Outgoing Council Chairman Frank C. Carlucci said he is optimistic about such a development and strongly believes that a Taiwan-US FTA would help US firms in Taiwan to expand further, despite the fact that some difficulties remain.
Carlucci stressed that Taiwan maintains very strong potential for economic development, although the pace of its economic growth has slowed.
As the second US-Taiwan defense meeting will be held in mid-February in San Antonio, Texas, Carlucci revealed that the two countries will discuss issues related to defense procurement and cooperation. Vice Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) is slated to take part in the meeting.
Carlucci stressed that the aim of the meeting is to help US companies better understand Taiwan's defense market and needs, in lieu of policy-making or strategy deployment.
Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers said that a positive climate for signing an FTA is due and that Taiwan has quite comprehensive legislation for such a development.
Both Carlucci and Hammond-Chambers visited Taiwan last month as delegates of the US-ROC Business Council, which promotes two-way business interests.