Remarks by AIT Director Christensen at Opening Ceremony of Applied Materials Display Manufacturing Facility and R&D Lab

AIT Official Text #: OT-1934
June 5, 2019


Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen
at Opening Ceremony of Applied Materials
Display Manufacturing Facility and R&D Lab
June 5, 2019
(As Prepared for Delivery)


Vice President Chen, Minister of Science and Technology Chen, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang, Southern Taiwan Science Park Director General Lin, Applied Materials Chairman Ionnotti and CEO Dickerson, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, zǎo ān!

As many of you are aware, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act.  Each month, we are celebrating a different aspect of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, and June is dedicated to technology and digital economy cooperation.  I can think of no better way to showcase our cooperation than being here today to mark the grand opening of Applied Materials’ new Display Manufacturing Facility and R&D lab.

Applied Materials, which has been operating in Taiwan since 1989, is one of Taiwan’s largest foreign investors, employing 2,300 people.  Their investment here is yet another sign that major U.S. technology companies continue to look to Taiwan as a critical link in their global technology supply chains.

It is not difficult to understand why companies are so committed to this market.  Taiwan, quite simply, is a trusted partner.  When firms invest here, they feel confident their intellectual property is safe, that trade secret protections will be enforced, that courts will adhere to the rule of law, and that the authorities are committed to shared democratic and free market values.  At the same time, Taiwan is home to some of the world’s most advanced component manufacturers, a deep pool of world-class engineers, highly adaptive technology support services, and innovative startups.  As a result, virtually all of the major U.S. technology firms are substantially increasing their investments in Taiwan.

We expect this trend to only increase in the future.  As everyone knows, China has been employing massive market-distorting subsidies and wide-scale cyber theft in an attempt to capture the technology industries of the future.  The United States’ position is very simple:  all players, large and small, must adhere to basic rules of fair competition and the rule of law.  A refusal to do so, especially by an economy as large as China’s, undermines the fundamental integrity of the international rules-based order.  If China refuses to play by the rules, then the future is quite clear – more and more foreign industry will seek safer destinations, such as India, Southeast Asia, the United States, and right here in Southern Taiwan.

With the construction of TSMC’s 5 and 3 nanometer fabs, and the opening of Applied Materials’ new facilities, Southern Taiwan is fast becoming one of the world’s preeminent hubs of cutting edge industrial research and development.  As we move into this new era, we in AIT are doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition of the U.S.-Taiwan technology relationship into the digital age.  Southern Taiwan, like Hsinchu, is becoming central to our efforts.

Once again, I would like to extend my congratulations to Applied Materials, to Tainan, and indeed to all of Taiwan on this important investment.

Thank you.