Remarks by AIT Director W. Brent Christensen at WTCC Annual Meeting
September 29, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Minister Joseph Wu, Minister Wang Mei-hua, Minister Lin Chia-lung, Ambassador Tung Cheng-yuan, Mayor Ke Wen-je, Mayor Tseng Wen-tsan, President Shih Chih-lung, distinguished representatives of the WTCC, ladies and gentlemen, good morning!
The work done by Taiwan Chambers of Commerce across the globe is inextricably linked to AIT’s work, and a central pillar in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. We often talk about the foundation of the U.S.-Taiwan friendship being our shared values. When most people think about these shared values the first thing that comes to mind is our shared political values: equal protection under the law; respect for human rights; democratic and transparent governance; freedoms of press, expression, and religion; and appreciation of diversity. And it’s true, we do share those values.
But we also share economic values: free markets; private sector-driven, sustainable growth; innovation and entrepreneurship; respect for intellectual property rights; and abidance by international rules and agreements that create a level playing field. Your presence in markets around the world directly contributes to a positive environment that helps trade thrive.
Beyond our political and economic values, the United States and Taiwan also share what we refer to as international values: contributing to global problem-solving; providing international assistance and humanitarian aid; being a “force for good in the world”; and exporting solutions, rather than problems. This year, we have seen commendable progress in advancing our shared values in all three of these areas, often in the crucible of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’ll start with our political values. Taiwan’s incomparably successful management of COVID-19, using what is now known globally as the “Taiwan Model,” would appear on its face to be a scientific or medical achievement. But the very core of the Taiwan Model is democratic values – transparency, press and internet freedom, rule of law, and robust communication between the government and the governed – standing in stark contrast with the repressive methods employed by the authoritarian model across the Strait. 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.
This year our economic shared values were also on full display. Under Secretary Krach’s recent visit to Taiwan will pave the way for us to launch a comprehensive Economic Dialogue that will guide our partnership into the future. Of course, U.S.-Taiwan high-tech cooperation – most notably in the area of semiconductors – has long been a major driver of the world economy. This was further underscored by TSMC’s announcement of plans to build a $12 billion semiconductor plant in the United States. Moreover, the United States considers Taiwan a key partner in building trusted global supply chains for semiconductors, critical technologies, and medical equipment. Our free markets, entrepreneurship, and intellectual freedom make the United States and Taiwan hubs for cutting-edge research and technology.
Finally, a word on our international values. Taiwan has long been willing to share its expertise and resources with the world, often lobbying for a seat at the table or for the opportunity to contribute to global efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic both exemplifies Taiwan’s spirit of international generosity, and is a case-in-point for why Taiwan should play a greater role in international organizations. Taiwan managed COVID-19 prevention within its own communities so skillfully, and ramped up PPE production so efficiently, that it was prepared to come to the aid of countries around the world at their greatest moment of need.
Taiwan’s Chambers of Commerce around the world play a vital role in strengthening the U.S.-Taiwan partnership. The work you do exemplifies our shared values – political, economic, and international – and brings benefits to both of our communities, both of our economies, and to people around the world.
Despite what has been a challenging year, I firmly believe it will also be remembered as one that highlighted the already strong and growing interests and values shared by the United States and Taiwan. We are real friends, making real progress. Thank you.