US State Department official to visit Taiwan

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles H. Rivkin is scheduled to visit Taiwan later this month, the senior U.S. official told Taiwanese reporters in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. During a hearing at the House Committee of Foreign Affairs, Rivkin told U.S. House of Representatives that he will be visiting Taiwan before the end of May. Approached by Taiwanese reporters following the hearing, Rivkin told them that this is the first time he has made public his upcoming tour to Taiwan. Rivkin noted Taiwan is an important trade partner for the U.S. He said the upcoming trip is meant to discuss bilateral and regional economic issues with Taiwanese officials. Both sides will also be touching on issues regarding possible further economic cooperation.

The U.S. official also noted that he has previously met several Taiwanese economic officials in Washington in the past. Rivkin posted on Twitter on Feb. 12 a photograph he took with Taiwanese Economic Minister John Deng (�H����) during the latter’s previous visit to the U.S. Meanwhile in Taiwan, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesman Mark Zimmer yesterday confirmed to The China Post Rivkin’s Taiwan trip. Zimmer said the AIT is planning to invite the U.S. official to visit Taiwan ��in coming weeks.��

But the AIT currently has no further details for the exact date of his visit, Zimmer noted. More senior U.S. officials have been visiting Taiwan over the past years. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy visited Taipei in April 2014 to mark 20 years of U.S.-Taiwan cooperation on environmental issues. McCarthy was the first Cabinet-level official to visit Taiwan in nearly 14 years. The last was then-U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slate in June 2000. According to U.S. State Department sources, Rivkin began serving as assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs on Feb. 13, 2014, and was sworn in publicly by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on April 15, 2014.

Rivkin leads a bureau at the U.S. State Department that is responsible for managing trade negotiations, investment treaties, economic sanctions, transportation affairs, telecommunications policy, international finance and development issues, as well as intellectual property rights protection.

The bureau is also the State Department’s primary link to the private sector through its Office of Commercial and Business Affairs, which supports U.S. business interests overseas and works to create American jobs at home by facilitating foreign investment. Prior to his appointment, Rivkin served for more than four years as the United States ambassador to France and Monaco, leading a diplomatic mission that contains six constituent posts throughout France and represents over 50 U.S. government agencies.