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TRADE OFFICIAL STRIVES TO `PUT PEOPLE TOGETHER'

Tucked away on the seventh floor of the Taipei World Trade Center is a tiny office with windows that look out on a blank wall. There is nothing remarkable about it, and few people would give it a second glance.

Except, that is, for the poster in the window: "Utah, a pretty, great state," it proclaims, a blast from the recent past that took my breath away. Not just because of all the controversy generated by the slogan a few years ago, but the incongruity of coming upon a little slice of home on the other side of the world.But "pretty, great . . . " was just for openers. The Utah Trade Office in Taipei, Taiwan's capital city, must have every promotional brochure ever produced by the state. Whatever you need to know about Utah, if you can't find it in Salt Lake City give Alex C. Sun a call. He'll have the answer.

Sun is director of the Utah Trade Office in Taipei, and his mission is to do whatever it takes to help Utah businesses invest, market, form joint ventures or anything else they may need.

"Our main goal is to help Utah companies sell their products and services here," said Sun in an interview last month. "We also get into tourism and investment, but those are not our main focus. We do market research, and we go out and promote Utah business."

He sums up his job this way: "We put people together."

Putting people together has so far resulted in $10 million in annual sales of Utah products in Taiwan, said Sun, noting that Utah is one of only 16 states that maintains a trade office in Taipei.

Utah companies that have had success marketing their products in Taiwan, he said, include E.A. Miller Beef, Nu Skin and Novell Inc., which has three agents in Taipei.

Sun said health food, medical products and computer software firms, especially multimedia, have "vast potential" for doing business in Taiwan.

If you or your company would like to explore doing business in Taiwan, Alex Sun or his assistant, Annie Wu, would like to here from you. Here's how to contact them: Taipei Trade Office, State of Utah, U.S.A., 7C/16, Taipei World Trade Center, No. 5, Hsin Yi Road, Sec. 5, Taipei, Taiwan ROC. Tel: 886-2-7252522. Fax: 886-2-7252459.