Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen
at Taiwan Session: Taiwan Model
on COVID-19: Forging Public Private Partners in the Medical Industry
for the 2020 Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF)
October 28, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Hello everyone! On behalf of the American Institute in Taiwan, I am delighted to welcome you to participate in this invaluable session co-hosted with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA.)
At this session, you will hear from experienced Taiwanese experts about Taiwan’s best practices to combat COVID-19 and the integration of Taiwan’s medical industry to deal with the COVID-19 response.
First, the United States applauds the success of the Taiwan Model of pandemic response on COVID-19. The recent visit of U.S. HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Taiwan signifies the important role that Taiwan can play in the international arena to share its expertise. The United States and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this summer on health cooperation to expand cooperation on global health security, infectious disease control and vaccine development.
Second, the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting consequences will change the way many companies evaluate the risks of investing so heavily in one single country and will encourage economies around the world to seek trustworthy trade partners and supply lines. Taiwan has distinguished itself as a trusted supplier of critical materials such as medical equipment. During the initial outbreak of COVID-19, medical supplies, including necessary PPE, were in high demand all over the world. Taiwan mobilized its industry, becoming the world’s largest manufacturer of surgical masks for a time. While Taiwan’s ability to provide for itself is admirable, Taiwan’s assistance to many countries, including the United States, during this crisis is even more inspiring.
Finally, as we evaluate what changes to the global supply chain are necessary in light of the pandemic, one thing is certain: Taiwan has demonstrated time and again that it is a reliable partner and a critical player in moving toward a more sustainable global economy. Since Taiwan is at the center of regional high-technology supply chains, the United States considers Taiwan a key partner in building trusted global supply chains for critical technologies, and medical equipment and semiconductors. We look forward to working together to establish a more resilient supply chains in the event of future crises.
It is worth noting that, just last month, Taiwan and the United States signed a Framework to Strengthen Infrastructure Finance and Market Building Cooperation to cooperate on infrastructure in developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region and Latin America. This Framework takes cooperation between the United States and Taiwan to a new level. The United States welcomes Taiwan’s important contributions to infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and its broader promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
It has been our pleasure to work closely with Taiwan to share the Taiwan Model with both U.S. institutions and countries around the world. As you will hear in the following session presentations, we believe that Taiwan is an important partner for the United States and like-minded countries in reshaping global supply chains for the health, security, and prosperity of the Indo Pacific community.