AIT Board Chair Laura Rosenberger Remarks at Maryland Diaspora Gala
Sunday September 17, 2023
Mayor Hou Yu-ih, distinguished guests, friends, good evening. It’s an honor to be here with you all, representing the American Institute in Taiwan.
In the past few months of my tenure as Chair of the Board of AIT, I’ve been lucky enough to meet with Taiwanese-American communities across the United States: most recently in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Tonight, it’s a privilege to meet you all here in Rockville.
I was inspired to learn that Rockville itself has its own ties to Taiwan. In 2019, Yilan City became Rockville’s second-ever sister city: the result of a grassroots campaign led by the tireless advocacy of the local Taiwanese-American community, and funded, in part, through the hosting of the D.C. area’s first ever Taiwan Bubble Tea festival. A pretty good fundraiser I think!
As the civic, business, and societally minded leaders of the Greater Washington diaspora community, your work is not only vital to the strength and vibrancy of American society, but also helps to build the foundation of the greater U.S.-Taiwan partnership.
The U.S.-Taiwan unofficial relationship is long-lasting. For more than forty years, it has developed consistent with the U.S. one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. In the past few months, I have witnessed firsthand this partnership grow closer than ever; evidenced both through recent economic, trade, and security policy initiatives, and through the deepening of people to people ties across our societies.
As highlighted by the sister city story of Rockville and Yilan, the ties between our two societies have grown closer than ever. In addition to working to strengthen educational and people-to-people exchanges, I have met with LY members and Taiwan think tankers and experts during their visits to the United States. There is substantial interest from Members of Congress in engaging with and traveling to Taiwan. I myself have been lucky enough to travel to Taiwan twice already, experiencing the incredible warmth of the people across the island: from Jiufen to Kaoshiung to Pingxi, where I participated in the beautiful tradition of releasing sky lanterns with Mayor Hou.
In just the past few months, we’ve made significant strides in strengthening and deepening our economic and trade relationship. Taiwan has long been a valued and important trade partner of the United States. In June, AIT and TECRO signed the first trade agreement under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, which will streamline regulations and facilitate trade to pave the way for increased economic opportunities in both markets. In late August, the United States and Taiwan held the second negotiating round for the initiative, under the auspices of AIT and TECRO, where the two sides tackled such important issues as agriculture, labor, and the environment. We anticipate holding further negotiations in the future.
Hand in hand with trade comes increasing investment and collaboration in high-tech, facilitated by initiatives such as the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration framework. Much of this collaboration spans sectors, encompassing the 5G, electric vehicle, sustainable energy, and cybersecurity spaces. This investment is a two-way relationship: in the semiconductor industry, we are seeing both an increase in Taiwan investments in the United States, as well as many U.S. technology companies significantly increase their stake in Taiwan companies.
Taiwan on the International Stage
Amid these policy updates comes an increasing recognition of the important role Taiwan plays on the international stage, both as a thriving democracy and as a demonstrated expert in addressing global challenges. The Biden Administration is committed to expanding Taiwan’s engagement with likeminded partners and diplomatic allies, and encourages Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite. Whether it be in public health, technology, pandemic-preparedness or electoral integrity, the world has much to learn from Taiwan, and Taiwan deserves to participate in the international community. We value Taiwan’s participation at APEC under the name of Chinese Taipei and its contributions in areas such as the digital economy, women’s economic empowerment, and health. We welcomed a number of Ministers to the United States this year and look forward to President Tsai sending a representative to the Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco this fall.
Lastly, Taiwan is a crucial partner in efforts to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The United States has long been committed to enabling Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. Our commitment to Taiwan remains rock-solid.
Mayor Hou and members of the delegation, thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you all tonight. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in the Washington area.