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ROC economics minister meets with US official, senator

Central News Agency, Taiwan


Washington, Dec. 9 (CNA) Visiting Republic of China Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh met with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Josette Sheeran Shiner Thursday to discuss matters of mutual concern. Ho, who arrived in Washington, D.C. Wednesday to lobbying support for the signing of Taiwan-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA), said her meeting with Shiner marked a good start for Taiwan’s FTA drive. Ho said the government has listed FTA negotiations with major trading partners as a priority task and that the United States has been a primary target. "It will require enormous efforts to realize the goal of striking an FTA deal with the United States. I hope we can speed up preparatory work," Ho said, adding that her current visit is aimed at holding direct dialogue with U.S. officials, academics and business executives to solicit their opinions about the FTA issue. Later in the day, Ho paid a visit to Sen. Max Baucus, who concurrently serves as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to seek his support for the signing of a Taiwan-U.S. free trade pact. Ho quoted Baucus as having said he is very supportive of signing such an agreement with Taiwan. During her stay, Ho will also attend a seminar to be organized by the Institute for International Economics, a noted U.S. think tank, and deliver a speech to American business executives at the invitation of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council which groups U.S. companies with interests in Taiwan. This is Ho’s first visit to the U.S. capital since she assumed her current post in May this year. (By Wennie Chi and Sofia Wu)