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Senior US trade official to arrive in Taiwan today

Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade at the U.S. Department of Commerce Francisco Sanchez will arrive in Taiwan today for a three-day visit to promote bilateral trade and travel, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announced yesterday.

The Taipei trip from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 is part of Sanchez's Asian tour to promote U.S. President Barack Obama's National Travel and Tourism Strategy and the National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, the AIT said in a released statement.

During his stay in Taiwan, Sanchez will meet with President Ma Ying-jeou, other Taiwan authorities and local business leaders.

Sanchez is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech at a luncheon for members of the business community in Taiwan.

He will also give remarks at a reception hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in honor of Taiwan's inclusion into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program.

Sanchez will be the highest-ranking official from the U.S. Department of Commerce to visit Taiwan since Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Grant Aldonas came to Taiwan in 2002, according to MOFA.

The senior U.S. official was originally set to visit Taiwan this March but the scheduled trip was canceled at the last minute amid a diplomatic row in Taiwan on whether to open the local market to U.S. beef containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopmaine.

This July, the Legislative Yuan passed amendments to a food safety act, paving the way for the resumption of U.S. beef with ractopamine imports.

The passage of the amendments is widely expected to lead to closer bilateral trade and could lead to resumption of TIFA negotiations in the near future.

According to the AIT, Sanchez leads the International Trade Administration, the mission of which is to promote fair trade; create jobs and economic growth by promoting U.S. companies and products; strengthen American competitiveness across all industries; administer U.S. trade laws; and undertake a range of trade promotion and trade advocacy efforts.

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