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AmCham Kaohsiung gives support to cross-strait pact 

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- During the American Chamber of Commerce in Kaohsiung press conference yesterday, the former chamber president, Brian E. Aiello, expressed support for the recently debated Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement.

The press conference was hosted by John Stephenson, the newly elected chamber president, and Aiello, currently serving as chairman on the energy committee of the chamber, as well as Chief Gary Oba of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Kaohsiung Branch Office, to promote the upcoming 2014 Annual Gala on April. 10. The gala will have in attendance Director Christopher Marut of the AIT and will see the unveiling of the 2014 Southern Taiwan White Paper, which provides insightful recommendations from various experts in the chamber to the government with the benefits of the economy in mind.

Trade Pacts to Benefit Taiwan

Aiello stated during the conference that the Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), the Taiwan-Singapore and Taiwan-New Zealand trade agreements that have yet to be established, and the cross-strait service pact awaiting ratification are all very positive programs that will only aid in the development of Taiwan.

“Made In Taiwan” has become a recognized synonym of quality according to Aiello. But the real problem at hand is for Taiwan to establish more international partners that will increase the competitiveness of the country at a global level, so that MIT products can be “enjoyed everywhere,” said Aiello.

Aiello continued by saying that Taiwan ought to aim for more trade agreement opportunities with other countries, while focusing on fulfilling the subsequent promises under ECFA, so that Taiwan will have the ability to fully utilize the structured programs of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to expand business opportunities internationally.

Stephenson also said that the financial sector should be more open to foreign investments so as to fully take advantage of the intelligence and expertise found in abundance in Taiwan, which will lead to local economic growth.

On the subject of the recent student protests, Aiello was quoted as saying that, as the issue is an ongoing matter between Taiwan and mainland China, it is not a question that he can appropriately discuss. However, Aiello felt positive seeing such an activity in the Taiwanese democracy, and he is delighted to observe the amount of public interest the topic has since garnered.

Oba also added during his interview that compared to college students in most countries, the university students of Taiwan have shown great interest and involvement in government politics, which is a very positive trait for students from other countries to learn from. The cross-strait service pact is a subject that should be understood, debated and discussed by all, added Oba.

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