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Top US official talks trade with TAITRA

A high-level U.S. representative yesterday signed the Pacific Bridge Initiative (PBI) with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (外貿協會, TAITRA) in a move to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties.

Francisco Sanchez, the U.S. under secretary of commerce for international trade, signed the initiative — between TAITRA and the United States and Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) — with the goal of promoting Taiwan as a commercial hub in the Greater China and Asia-Pacific region, encouraging U.S. companies to exhibit at trade shows in Taiwan, and enhancing the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan.

It is hoped that in future both sides will share Internet and media resources in several fields including renewable energy, environmental protection, traveling and tourism, information communication technology, publication, education, medical care and bio-science.

According to Sanchez, the U.S. has signed statements of intent (SOIs) with similar organizations in Hong Kong and Singapore. He believes that the PBI will have a positive impact for people and businesses in both Taiwan and the U.S.

At another venue, Sanchez signed a separate SOI with the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei (台北市進出口商業同業公會) and New Taipei Importers and Exporters Chamber of Commerce (新北市進出口商業同業公會). It is hoped that these agreements will educate U.S. companies about export opportunities in Taiwan, promote investment opportunities in the U.S. for Taiwan companies, make Taiwan a commercial hub and gateway to the mainland China market and enhance relationships between Taiwan and the U.S.

Sanchez said that the American Institute in Taiwan's Commercial Section cooperated with the two organizations as part of achieving the goal of U.S. President Barack Obama's National Export Initiative. The initiative looks to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014 and promote SelectUSA, a U.S. effort to attract foreign direct investment.

In his lecture at the Taiwan Business Community Luncheon, Sanchez said he hopes Taiwan keeps up to pace with neighboring countries and continues to open up its market. He said allowing U.S. beef imports is an important step in this direction. He called Taiwan a responsible trade partner for allowing the imports.

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U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez, right, and Taiwan External Trade Development Council Chairman Wang Chih-kang (王志剛) shake hands after signing the Pacific Bridge Initiative to enhance the business cooperation of both sides in Taipei yesterday.(CNA)

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