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Trust on the menu at AmCham dinner

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has restored mutual trust with the United States on many issues, making bilateral ties their best in 30 years, said President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday.

At an event for U.S. business representatives, Ma said he hopes Taiwan's current approach — “the low-key and surprise-free style” — can continue to improve the sometimes rocky relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

“In the last four and a half years, we have successfully restored mutual trust with the United States on many issues. I can say, quoting American scholars, that our relations with the U.S. are the best in the 30 years since we severed diplomatic relations,” said Ma late Thursday in Taipei.

Ma made his remarks yesterday at the “Hsieh Nien Fan,” a year-end banquet hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taiwan. This year, the menu included U.S. beef that — for the first time since 2006 — may have contained traces of ractopamine.

“I am just delighted that this year at the Hsieh Nien Fan, we no longer have to joke about where's the beef,” said AmCham Chairman Alan Eusden.

In opening remarks, Eusden lauded Taiwan's decision last year to lift the ban on beef imports containing ractopamine. He also praised the Ma administration for making strides in Taiwan's economic development.

Last year at the same AmCham event, Ma announced five of his administration's priorities: trade liberalization, industrial upgrading and integration, a secure energy supply, educational reform and policies to attract foreign talent to Taiwan.

“Looking back on this past year, we see some significant progress toward these goals,” said Eusden.

“We are now increasingly optimistic about prospects of bringing the U.S.-Taiwan relationship to an entirely new level, whether in the form of a bilateral agreement, a free trade agreement, participation in the (Trans-Pacific Partnership) or even all of the above,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Eusden said that U.S. businesses are showing signs of recovery after the global economic crisis, and particularly so in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region has become key to the U.S. global trade strategy, he said.

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From left, AIT Director Christopher Marut, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), President Ma Ying-jeou, and American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei Chairman Alan T. Eusden greet each other at the 2013 banquet dinner hosted by AmCham at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, yesterday. (CNA)

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