Grand Hyatt Hotel, Taipei
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1802
(As Prepared for Delivery)
President Tsai, distinguished guests, it is my pleasure to be with you this evening.
This is my third opportunity to attend this event, and the second where I have had the honor of sharing the stage with President Tsai.
Looking back on this last year, and looking back even farther on my three years as AIT Director, I am grateful for the successes and spirit of cooperation that exists between the United States and Taiwan. This is a multifaceted relationship that is bolstered by the ongoing ties between the public and private sectors of our two economies. No entity represents that better than AmCham Taipei. AIT, as a whole, and I personally am grateful for the close cooperation we enjoy.
As I reviewed the latest AmCham Business Climate Survey, I was impressed to see that well over one half of all AmCham member companies have been in Taiwan for over twenty years, demonstrating the deep roots of U.S. investment here.
That necessarily means that slightly less than half are newer to Taiwan. This too is important, as Taiwan must continue to attract new companies to stay at the cutting edge of what is the world’s most dynamic region, the Indo-Pacific.
I would like to highlight a couple developments that have taken place during my time here that I think are underrated inflection points for Taiwan’s continued economic growth.
First, transparency. Taiwan has put in place a standardized notice and comment period for legislation and regulation that helps businesses and the public participate in the process in a transparent way that leads to better laws that are more predictable.
Second, intellectual property rights. Taiwan made the courageous decision this past year to create a patent linkage system that will be beneficial to attracting investment in Taiwan’s biopharmaceutical industry. With quick and full implementation, Taiwan could become a leader in the region in this sector. Taiwan is still facing the very difficult challenges of digital piracy and trade secrets protection, but I am confident that Taiwan can use strong IPR protection as a competitive advantage in this region.
Third, reciprocal investment. As Taiwan businesses invest in the United States, U.S. businesses will invest here in a virtuous cycle. I was impressed last year as I attended the SelectUSA summit where Taiwan had the second largest delegation in the world.
As businesses look around the region and consider where to invest more, it is transparency, stability, fairness, reciprocity, and dynamism that will help keep Taiwan high on the priority list.
Of course, it isn’t just businesses that are investing here. As you know a new AIT office building will be dedicated before I leave my posting – I promise! This building is symbolic of the continued commitment of the United States to Taiwan.
As I reflect on my time here and think about the state of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, I’m reminded of the words of the Tang poet Wang Zhihuan who said 欲窮千里目，更上一層樓 . We are all working to take the relationship to the next level and the prospects look good.
I would like to now introduce to you Deputy Assistant Secretary Alex Wong. He joined us in December last year from Senator Tom Cotton’s office. We are really lucky to have such a bright and dedicated addition to the State Department, someone who understands the region and is already a friend of Taiwan. And I am eager to hear what he has to say.