March 30, 2022
Director Sandra Oudkirk Remarks at Hsieh Nien Fan
March 30, 2022
President Tsai, AmCham Chairman Shih, distinguished guests and friends, good evening. It is my pleasure to be here with you tonight to discuss AIT’s approach to policy as the second year of the Biden Harris Administration begins.
AIT is committed to working with counterparts here in Taiwan to advance our shared vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, resilient, and inclusive. Since I first lived here in the early nineties, Taiwan has developed into an advanced economy and a vibrant democracy, and the U.S.-Taiwan partnership has steadily deepened. At the same time, the United States and Taiwan face a regional and global landscape that is more challenging and complex than ever.
As you are all aware, the U.S. relationship with the People’s Republic of China faces distinct challenges in a number of areas including trade and human rights.
We also have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia, especially following the brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. As Secretary Blinken has said, China is already on the wrong side of history when it comes to Ukraine and the aggression being committed by Russia.
The response to Vladimir Putin’s war of choice has been unity among world leaders. The United States and more than 30 allies and partners, including Taiwan, representing more than half the world’s economy, have made good on our commitment to impose massive consequences on Russia.
We will continue to back the people of Ukraine in their fight for their country through security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and by uniting with the international community to hold Putin accountable through devastating sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and other measures.
Here in the Indo-Pacific region, America’s effort to resolve and manage differences with the leadership of the People’s Republic of China faces distinct challenges. The PRC’s increasingly aggressive behavior is nowhere more evident than in relation to Taiwan, where the PRC has continued to exert military, diplomatic, and economic pressure. The PRC’s provocative military activities near Taiwan are destabilizing, risk miscalculation, and undermine regional peace and stability. Continued efforts by Beijing to choke Taiwan’s international space, pressure its friends, and interfere in Taiwan’s democratic system represent a threat to all democracies.
As I look at how the Biden administration confronted global and regional challenges in its first year in office, I see a foreign policy that reflects continuity in core principles and interests, while incorporating tactical changes to enable America to adapt as challenges evolve.
A key priority of the Biden administration is standing with allies and partners to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values in the region, which includes preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. By exercising U.S. leadership, mobilizing our allies and partners – particularly fellow democracies – and fostering cooperation, we can create opportunities for a more stable Indo-Pacific.
I want to underscore, in my 30 years as an American diplomat, I have never seen a greater focus on policy alignment with allies and partners than the vision articulated in the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
The U.S.-Taiwan partnership demonstrates this approach. U.S. support for Taiwan remains rock-solid, principled, and bipartisan and is in line with America’s one China policy and longstanding American commitments.
When I ook at the opportunities ahead of us across the political, economic, and security domains, I am reminded that the world and the Indo-Pacific region are more interconnected than ever. In order to advance our global and regional goals, we will need bold leadership, democratic allies, and robust international cooperation.
As AIT Director, I am focused on four primary objectives, all of which reflect long-standing U.S. policy priorities and have garnered strong bipartisan support: strengthening Taiwan’s role as a regional security partner, promoting global supply chain resilience, supporting efforts to preserve and expand Taiwan’s international space, and deepening our economic and people-to-people ties.
First, in order to strengthen Taiwan’s role as a regional security partner, the United States remains committed to helping Taiwan maintain its ability to deter aggression and to defend itself. We have a shared and abiding interest in peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We consider this central to the security and stability of the broader Indo-Pacific region and are deeply concerned by ongoing PRC efforts to undermine that stability.
Next, we are continuing to work with Taiwan to promote global supply chain resilience, including via some new policy initiatives. As Asia’s “Silicon Island,” Taiwan is a central node of the globe’s semiconductor ecosystem and a cutting-edge pioneer on emerging technologies ranging from 5G-ORAN to artificial intelligence. The pandemic-related supply chain dislocations we have all faced over the past two years brought the need to work together to build secure and resilient global supply chains to the top of the agenda. Taiwan plays a crucial role in these supply chains, particularly in critical technologies like semiconductors.
In their phone call in early December, Secretary Raimondo and Minister Wang stated their intent to cooperate through a new Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration (TTIC) framework, under which the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Taiwan authorities aim to develop commercial programs and explore ways to strengthen supply chains.
Under this framework, both sides are cooperating on diversifying critical supply chains and related eco-systems to facilitate mutually beneficial investment in key sectors such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, cybersecurity, 5G, and renewable energy and energy storage. Working groups on each of these topics are already making considerable progress. AIT’s commercial section is now organizing visits by robust industry-focused delegations to many parts of the United States this summer. This outreach, along with events here in Taipei, will help our economies build scalable eco-systems and enhance collaboration between and among companies, research institutions, and innovation centers.
In addition to our work on supply chains, one important and growing focus for bilateral cooperation that also bridges the security and economic space is the urgent need to more effectively counter cybersecurity threats. I hope that I can count on AmCham member companies to support our effort to bolster resilience in this key area.
We are also working together to create opportunities that will support and expand Taiwan’s international space and provide additional opportunities for Taiwan to share its expertise in multilateral fora and to engage with international partners.
Last year, the United States and Taiwan significantly expanded the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, demonstrating Taiwan’s interest in multilateral collaboration to address global challenges.
Finally, economic and people-to-people ties remain the bedrock of our relationship. These ties are deep and historical. I spoke earlier about working together to strengthen global supply chains for high-tech industries; however, the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship is broader than just one industry. In 2021 Taiwan was the sixth-largest consumer of U.S. agricultural products and our eighth-largest trading partner in goods. Of our top ten partners, only Canada and Mexico trade more with the United States on a per capita basis.
We are working with key stakeholders to help Taiwan examine regulatory reforms and expand bilateral trade with the United States, especially in transformative high-growth technology sectors where the U.S. and Taiwan are natural partners.
To advance bilateral trade and investment, the United States and Taiwan re-launched Trade and Investment Framework Agreement talks last year. We have since established bilateral working groups on agriculture, intellectual property, labor, and technical barriers to trade and investment that will help set the stage for broader and more consistent engagement moving forward.
In November, the United States and Taiwan held our second Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue. This dialogue has helped to reinforce existing areas of economic cooperation, forge new economic ties between the United States and Taiwan, and build a coalition to counter the PRC’s unfair economic and investment policies.
Thousands of students and teachers, business people, and tourists move back and forth between our shores every year, and we look forward to those numbers’ rebounding after the pandemic ends.
This seems like a really long list, but I assure you there are many more areas of mutual interest and active cooperation. AIT is committed to working with our partners here in Taiwan as we confront shared challenges and make progress on shared goals.
It is an honor to join this esteemed group, and I look forward to a pleasant evening! Thank you.