AIT Chair Rosenberger’s Remarks to the
Taiwanese Association of America Greater Washington Chapter
Saturday, November 11, 2023
Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center
Good morning, everyone. Thank you, President Natalie Chien and the Taiwanese Association of America Greater Washington Chapter for having me here. As always, I’m delighted to see TECRO Deputy Representative Robin Cheng. And it’s an honor to be with you all today.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family. It’s evident that the profound connections forged through your dedication to Taiwanese society, culture, and service have created a community that truly embodies the spirit of family.
Indeed, your dedication to and leadership in the Taiwan diaspora and Washington area community is actively helping to build the foundation of the U.S.-Taiwan partnership.
This is evidenced through some of your organization’s powerful initiatives and efforts—not only the impressive crowd and distinguished speakers who gather at your events, but your organization’s past advocacy and service: your support for Ukrainian refugees in 2022, aid to those impacted by the earthquake in Turkey this year, and myriad cultural events that promote essential intercultural understanding. Your work makes America stronger, more vibrant, and committed to our shared values.
As you know, this year marks the 44th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, which, alongside the three Joint Communiques and Six Assurances, guides the U.S. one China policy.
For more than four decades, this framework has supported the growth of Taiwan as a beacon of democracy in the Indo-Pacific, a thriving economy, and a technological powerhouse. And, of course, our one China policy has also helped maintain peace and stability across the Strait.
The United States and Taiwan share a deep and abiding interest in maintaining this peace and stability. As I said in my most recent meetings with President Tsai and her team on Taiwan: the U.S. commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid, principled, and bipartisan. As I reaffirmed to President Tsai at the outset of our meeting, the United States stands with our friends, and we will continue to do so.
You all understand our policy toward and unique relationship with Taiwan more than most Americans, and the theme of today’s event is “Taiwan and the US forward together.” And that’s a spirit I welcome – for as many of you may have heard me say, I am focused on the opportunities the United States and Taiwan can seize together. It’s also something I was able to discuss during my most recent trip to Taiwan last month. And so, today I want to highlight how in recent years, our partnership has substantially broadened and deepened under the Taiwan Relations Act — notably in our economic, security, and people-to-people relations, as well as in our cooperation to expand Taiwan’s role in the international community.
First, let’s start with the tremendous growth in our economic partnership. When it comes to investment, as of spring 2023, the stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Taiwan exceeded $30 billion. And in 2023 alone, U.S. high-tech companies such as Micron Technologies and Qualcomm—increased or announced their intent to increase investment in research and development in Taiwan.
In fact, during my most recent trip, I met with representatives from Micron, the largest U.S. investor in Taiwan. I visited their state-of-the-art A3 fab in Taichung and learned about their more than 10,000 employees on the island and substantial investments in Taiwan’s world-class high-tech research and development sector. An investor in Taiwan for over two decades, Micron illustrates the powerful two-way, mutually beneficial investment underway between U.S. and Taiwan industry. Many people are familiar with the CHIPS and Science Act, which makes it more attractive for cutting edge companies from Taiwan, as well as their suppliers, to invest in the United States. But investments by U.S. companies in Taiwan demonstrate that these investments benefit both the United States and Taiwan—facilitating the bi-directional movement of people, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
The growth of U.S. investment in Taiwan is also demonstrated by Taiwan’s strong support for SelectUSA, the highest profile event in the United States dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment. There, this May, Taiwan sent the largest delegation from anywhere in the world.
In addition to creating prosperity, this bi-directional investment is important because it builds resilience.
The disruptions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of resilient and diverse global supply chains in building sustainable economies. The United States and Taiwan are actively collaborating through frameworks such as the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration framework, or TTIC [T-TICK], to facilitate deals between U.S. and Taiwan companies, particularly in the semiconductor, 5G, electric vehicles, sustainable energy, and cybersecurity sectors. This two-way investment builds resilient Taiwan and U.S. high-tech ecosystems, which, in turn, build resilient global supply chains.
While in Taiwan, I also met with leaders from the American State Offices Association who represent the growing number of U.S. states—as of now, eighteen—that have opened or are planning to establish a trade representative office in Taipei. The most recent office opening was the home of AIT’s headquarters, the Commonwealth of Virginia. These state office leaders shared their essential work enhancing the growth of our trade relationship, which is substantial. In 2022, U.S. goods and services traded with Taiwan totaled an estimated $160 billion—and Taiwan is a top ten U.S. trading partner.
And this relationship is expanding. In August, under the auspices of AIT and TECRO, the United States and Taiwan held the second negotiating round of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, a high-standards trade initiative whose first agreement, signed in June, will streamline regulations to pave the way for increased trade and economic opportunities in both markets. Conversations under this initiative continue, and we look forward to a third negotiating round in the future.
And of course, the global interconnectedness of Taiwan’s economy allows for Taiwan to better contribute its essential talents and world-class expertise to the global economy.
Second, the United States continues to support Taiwan’s efforts to acquire self-defense capabilities, enhance its resilience, and reinforce deterrence in the Taiwan Strait, which helps maintain cross-Strait peace and stability.
Accordingly, we are using the full range of tools authorized by Congress—such as the Presidential Drawdown Authority and Foreign Military Financing—to work to ensure that Taiwan has sufficient self-defense capabilities.
Taiwan also needs the capacity to address Beijing’s daily pressure and coercion efforts. This challenge underscores the importance of bolstering Taiwan’s resilience beyond just the traditional defense space to a broader whole of society effort. This means thinking beyond just traditional “defense” to a broader concept of “security.”
There is growing recognition that peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is a matter of concern for not only the United States, Taiwan, and the Indo-Pacific region, but the international community at large.
And as has been our long-standing policy, United States remains focused on maintaining the capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.
And finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the flourishing U.S.-Taiwan people-to-people relations, which serve as a foundation for the shared values that underpin our relationship.
Taiwan is a standard-bearer in facilitating people-to-people exchange—hosting one of the largest Fulbright programs in the world, with over 300 American scholars and teachers per year. Through AIT-TECRO frameworks such as the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, the United States and Taiwan are also working further deepen these growing ties.
One such area is through facilitating language teaching and partnerships between U.S. and Taiwan educational institutions. For example, in May of this year, I hosted a large delegation of Taiwan University presidents, led by Taiwan’s Deputy Minister of Education, to discuss some of this work strengthening semiconductor and STEM cross-border talent cultivation and education.
During my most recent trip to Taiwan, I was fortunate to escape some of my busy schedule and enjoy the amazing Taiwanese food and culture. I visited Taichung, exploring some of its most important landmarks and cultural sites such as the National Library. I had the privilege of engaging with high school students from Taichung, where I shared about my career journey and, in return, I gained insights into their own dreams and aspirations. I also met with alumni of initiatives such as the International Visitor Leadership Program, the State Department’s premier professional exchange program, to learn about their experiences engaging in exchange with the United States. And, of course, I tried—and loved—Taichung’s famous bubble tea. It’s always a privilege to see firsthand the strength, diversity, and vibrancy of Taiwan society that deserve to be known and celebrated.
Expanding these people-to-people ties and exchange is some of our most essential work at AIT—foundational to not only the U.S.-Taiwan partnership, but Taiwan’s growing role in the international community.
To this end, the Biden Administration is committed to expanding Taiwan’s engagement with likeminded partners and diplomatic allies, and we encourage and support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, including as a member in those where statehood is not a pre-requisite.
Accordingly, we look forward to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco this week and welcoming the delegation from Taipei. This delegation will be a critical contributor to APEC, and we applaud its crucial work.
And of course, Taiwan is a vibrant, robust democracy and genuine force for good in the world. The United States is confident in Taiwan’s democratic processes and its free and fair elections. The United States opposes outside interference by any actor in Taiwan’s elections and look forward to working with whomever the Taiwan voters choose as their next leader to continue our essential work building this partnership and moving forward together.
Natalie, members of The Taiwanese Association of America Greater Washington Chapter, thank you again for having me for this lively, impactful, and delicious luncheon. It’s an honor to be among so many friends whose shared support for our partnership does make us feel like family. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving.