August 5, 2015
AIT Official Text #: OT-1518E
Deputy Minister Cho, TAITRA President Huang, distinguished guests from the United States and Taiwan, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
As the new Director of the American Institute in Taiwan, I am honored to participate in the opening of “U.S. Trade Day.” I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Foreign Trade and to the Taiwan External Trade Development Council for organizing today’s event, and for giving us all an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary economic relationship that the United States and Taiwan have built together over the years.
There are two primary driving forces for economic growth: trade and investment. The economies of the United States and Taiwan are important sources of both.
The constantly shifting dynamics of the global economy have led the way to an explosive increase in trade. Our industries, innovators, entrepreneurs, supply chains, markets, and even our consumers are all interconnected in ways unimaginable just ten years ago. The U.S.-Taiwan trade partnership has evolved into something quite special, and it is clearly a win-win for both sides.
In 2014, Taiwan was the United States’ 10th largest trading partner, even ahead of India and Italy. In that same year, the United States also became the second largest trading partner for Taiwan. Two-way trade in goods reached over US$67 billion. And, with Taiwan’s strong conviction to further liberalize its markets, we can be confident that we will continue to see strong growth in our bilateral trade relationship in the coming years.
Investment is the other driving force for growth that is facilitating the deepening of economic and commercial ties. The United States is still Taiwan’s largest foreign direct investor, mostly in manufacturing. And Taiwan is a significant and growing source of investments for the United States. Each of our 50 states represents an attractive location for Taiwan investors, given the size of the U.S. market, the investment security provided by our legal system, our skilled, educated, and mobile workforce, our traditions of strong corporate governance, our open capital markets, and the fact that we are connected with the extended markets of 20 countries with which we have free trade agreements – another 425 million people. The large delegations from Taiwan to the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington in 2013 and 2015 are a strong testament to Taiwan investors’ confidence in the United States as a first-rate investment destination.
As strong as our economic relationship is, there is more we still need to do to fully realize the potential that our two economies have. We need to take steps to strengthen intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, remove technical barriers to trade that limit markets and consumer choice, ensure that rules conform to international standards, and achieve greater transparency and predictability in regulatory processes. By working together to address the outstanding obstacles in the trade relationship, we will propel our economies forward, make our industries more competitive, and create a brighter economic future for the people of Taiwan and the United States.
The United States believes investors can find that bright future in any of our 50 states. There are a number of representatives from U.S. states and cities present here today who are eager to meet with potential investors from Taiwan and share with them the opportunities their states and cities have to offer. Each locale has something unique, which guarantees that the United States can offer something for every industry and every type of investor. So I hope that you will take time today to meet with our representatives here and find out what their state or city can offer you.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that the United States is appreciative of its long-standing partnership with Taiwan on trade and investment. We recognize that we each face our own economic challenges and constraints, but what is important is how we utilize our combined strengths to benefit our economies and create greater prosperity for our people. I look forward to continuing to develop the U.S.-Taiwan partnership in trade and investment.