Taiwan delegation leader to U.S. trade summit replaced due to COVID

06/26/2022 05:33 PM
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From left: Taiwan
From left: Taiwan's representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Arun Venkataraman, NDC chief Kung Ming-hsin, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, and SelectUSA Executive Director Jasjit Singh are pictured at dinner party in Washington Saturday. CNA photo June 26, 2022

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) Taiwan's top trade negotiator John Deng (鄧振中), who was supposed to head the country's delegation to the SelectUSA Investment Summit this week, has been confirmed with COVID-19 and will be replaced by National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Sunday.

Deng developed a cough and other symptoms upon arrival in Mexico City June 18 and tested positive for the virus. He subsequently conducted self-isolation in a hotel in accordance with the relevant epidemic prevention and quarantine regulations in the country and adjusted his itinerary accordingly.

Deng received a medical diagnosis from a doctor in Mexico and was prescribed medication for treating COVID-19. He is currently in stable condition, according to MOFA.

Deng was visiting Mexico to facilitate economic trade cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.

Due to being infected with the virus, Deng was not able to head to the United States to attend meetings related to the SelectUSA Investment Summit, an annual event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce aimed at attracting foreign investment into the U.S.

This year, the summit is set to be held in Maryland from June 26 to 29.

However, as Deng has mild symptoms of the disease, the possibility of holding the first meeting of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade scheduled for later this week between him and the Office of the United States Trade Representative virtually cannot be excluded, according to the Office of Trade Negotiations under Taiwan's Cabinet.

In related news, Taiwan's representative office in the U.S. held a dinner party in Washington for the country's delegation to the SelectUSA Investment Summit on Saturday, with Arun Venkataraman, the assistant secretary of commerce for global markets, on hand to welcome them.

The dinner party had 265 participants, making the Taiwan delegation the largest group from another country for the fourth consecutive year to the SelectUSA Investment Summit.

In his address at the dinner party Saturday, Venkataraman said that the U.S. and Taiwan maintain close economic relations and in recent years, bilateral trade and investment ties have been continuously strengthened.

Last year, Taiwan was the U.S.' 8th largest trading partner, he said.

The launch of Taiwan-U.S. Initiative on 21st-Century Trade on June 1 is also aimed at continuously deepening bilateral trade ties, facilitating innovations and boosting economic growth, Venkataraman added.

Sandra Oudkirk, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Jasjit Singh, executive director of SelectUSA, were also present at the dinner party.

(By Chen Chun-hua, Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)

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