Taiwan is an important partner to the US: APEC ambassador

US envoy Matthew J. Matthews made the comment at an think tank APEC conference Tuesday

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U.S. APEC official Matthew J. Matthews

U.S. APEC official Matthew J. Matthews (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. APEC ambassador Matthew J. Matthews said Tuesday that Taiwan is an important partner to the U.S. and makes many significant contributions to APEC.

Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted an APEC conference Tuesday afternoon. Matthews, both a delegate to the APEC Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands in the U.S. Department of State, attended the event.

A reporter for CNA asked Matthews about when Taiwan’s envoy to last year’s APEC summit, Morris Chang (張忠謀) had a “pull-aside meeting” with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. During their conversation, Pence and Chang reportedly touched upon the possibility of initiating a Taiwan-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

Matthews was questioned about any progress on the matter, and asked in what areas Taiwan can improve to assure the possibility of establishing a pact with the U.S. increases.

The ambassador replied Morris Chang is an industry leader with a wealth of experience in various sectors. Taiwan is an important partner to the U.S., he said, and its contributions to APEC have been constructive and beneficial—particular in the field of the digital economy.

Matthews reportedly also added that Taiwan harbors a wealth of important industries, and thus the U.S. is glad to see it participating in APEC. He did not, however, comment on the possibility of a new trade agreement.