Nov 8, 2008

US Considering Trade Minister Visits With Taiwan

This is more good news. These visits on Trade issues should be no trouble under the various understandings reached with China when countries such as the US and New Zealand recognised the PRC. But these visits became less frequent, or were suspended in recent years because of the dreadful relations between Taiwan and China during Chen Shui-bian's rule. We hope that New Zealand resumes such visits as well. Taiwan is one of our top 10 markets.

Ever since the KMT came to power in May, one of the primary goals of the Ma administration has been to mend the Taiwan-US relations, which had deteriorated over the past years because of former President Chen Shui-bian’s capricious and provocative cross-Strait policies.

Now, the US government has shown its willingness to strengthen ties with Taiwan, though economically. It is reported that the US government has sent a message to President Ma Ying-jeou through the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) stating that it wanted to restore the mutual visits of ministerial-level economic/trade officials between the two countries.

Yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou convened a meeting to discuss the matter with top officials from the National Security Council, the Council of Agriculture, the Department of Health, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.Taiwan and the US signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement in 1994, the purpose of which was to solve trade problems and strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries. The ministerial-level economic/trade officials had often visited each other’s countries before. However, such visits gradually came to a near halt during Chen Shui-bian’s eight-year rule.

“During the KMT rule, the US ministerial-level economic/trade officials paid visits to Taiwan many times. However, the Taiwan-US ties came to a standstill after the DPP came to power. In the last few years, the top economic/trade official to visit Taiwan was Kara Bhatia, then Deputy US Trade Representative,” said a senior Taiwan diplomat.