Remarks by AIT Chair Laura Rosenberger
for the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan’s
Annual Hsieh Nien Fan Gala Dinner
April 19, 2023
Thank you, Vincent, for that kind introduction. President of Taiwan Madam Tsai Ing-wen, Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan Vincent Shih, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan in Taipei Sandra Oudkirk, esteemed friends and colleagues, good evening!
It is a true pleasure to be here tonight to participate in AmCham’s annual Hsieh Nien Fan celebration and to see so many familiar faces. I look forward to working closely with all of you during my tenure as AIT Chair, since I know there is so much we can accomplish together.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here speaking with you in Taiwan less than a month after starting in this role. And of course, it was a real privilege that one of my first engagements was to accompany President Tsai during her successful transits of New York City and Los Angeles, during which she met many Taiwanese Americans as she traveled to and from Central America. Her transits underscored the strength of the partnership between the United States and Taiwan, and of the bipartisan support in the United States that underpins it.
Indeed, our partnership has continued to grow in both breadth and depth – a testament to the ties between our two democracies, our people, our economies, and our shared values. We face many challenges together – but we also have many opportunities, and I hope to work with President Tsai and her team, along with my colleagues at AIT and in the U.S. government, to continue to identify and seize those opportunities.
One such opportunity is advancing our work to build partnerships that showcase to the international community all the ways in which Taiwan is a force for good. More people around the world are paying attention to Taiwan than ever before – and this provides a real opportunity to underscore the value proposition that Taiwan provides. The United States has also been working to build partnerships that include Taiwan, and we are expanding cooperation on international development and humanitarian assistance around the world.
The United States is also working to promote Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations and multi-stakeholder forums – like the World Health Assembly and at the International Civil Aviation Organization. We are also intensely engaged with our international partners and countries, helping to increase their understanding of the important role Taiwan plays in the global economy, in the Indo-Pacific, and further afield. We were so pleased that Taiwan could once again participate in the 2nd Summit for Democracy last month, showcasing the ways in which Taiwan serves as a beacon for democracy in the region and around the world.
And in organizations where Taiwan has full membership, the United States continues to support its contributions in these fora. For example, with the United States hosting APEC this year, we look forward to Taiwan showcasing its contributions in key areas, including health and the economy, women’s economic empowerment, the digital economy, and more. And we look forward to continuing to work together this year and beyond to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the APEC region.
The ties between our people only continue to grow as well. I had the privilege of spending time with the Taiwanese diaspora community in New York and Los Angeles, and I was so impressed with the energy, talent, and care that this community brings to the United States – and which I know our American community in Taiwan brings here as well. One key focus for us is connecting more Americans with Mandarin language instruction and educational exchanges with Taiwan through our joint Education Initiative, launched in 2020. Through robust people to people and academic exchanges such as the Fulbright program, we are working together to leverage Taiwan’s expertise in STEM fields and language instruction while helping Taiwan reach its own goals to become a bilingual society by 2030.
And of course, the United States is working closely with Taiwan to uphold peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait that is necessary not only for Taiwan’s security and prosperity, but for the region’s and world’s as well. This is the central and driving tenet of our cross-Strait policy. Our unofficial relationship, which has gradually expanded over the years, continues to flourish under our one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.
Unfortunately, the PRC’s recent military exercises in August and just last week undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. As my colleagues in the U.S. government have said, there was no reason for Beijing to turn President Tsai’s transit–which was consistent with longstanding U.S. policy–into something it was not or use it as pretext to overreact. And let me be clear, the United States will continue to uphold our commitments to support Taiwan’s self-defense capacity as a key means to ensuring that the Taiwan Strait remains peaceful and stable. And we welcome the steps that President Tsai has been taking to strengthen Taiwan’s capacity as well.
But for our purposes this evening, it is the U.S.-Taiwan economic and commercial relationship – which serves as a core pillar of our overall partnership and is also an essential part of enhancing Taiwan’s resilience – that is most relevant and perhaps of most interest to you. Let me start by highlighting some of the recent developments we’ve seen in this area, beginning with trade. In January, USTR held the first round of negotiations under the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, which takes places under the auspices of AIT and our counterpart organization, TECRO. This initiative is designed to address a range of trade and investment issues that are critical to our two economies. Our goal is a high-ambition trade agreement, and we have seen impressive progress already.
Our first round of negotiations focused on potential “early harvest” chapters of: good regulatory practices; services domestic regulation; trade facilitation; anti-corruption; and small- and medium-sized enterprises. Future negotiations will build on this by addressing such critical issues as digital trade, labor, the environment, and, of course, the thorny issue of agricultural trade.
While the negotiations under this initiative move forward, we are continuing our work under the U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Taiwan Minister without Portfolio John Deng reviewed progress under the TIFA last year, and subject matter experts in both the United States and Taiwan continue to engage regularly to address outstanding trade issues of mutual concern. These include issues AmCham Taiwan has raised, such as regulatory transparency, financial services, and investment.
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY PARTNERSHIP DIALOGUE
Late last year, the United States and Taiwan met in December, again under the auspices of AIT and TECRO, for a high-level meeting of the State Department-led Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue to discuss some of the broader issues of concern facing our two economies. Our conversations regarding responses to economic coercion, cooperation on supply chain resilience, and Taiwan’s energy transformation have continued since then, with a focus on how we can work together to prevent major disruptions to our shared economic growth. Through this dialogue we have identified many areas for cooperation, information sharing, and mutual understanding, and we look forward to continuing this important conversation over the course of this year and beyond.
TECHNOLOGY TRADE AND INVESTMENT COLLABORATION
One of the more exciting recent developments in our economic cooperation has been the creation of the Technology Trade and Investment Collaboration framework, or TTIC. Whereas the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue has a high-level macro focus, a distinct goal of the TTIC is to facilitate deals between U.S. and Taiwan companies, particularly in the semiconductor, 5G, electric vehicles, sustainable energy, and cybersecurity sectors.
Last October, Taiwan Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua led an impressive delegation of over 40 companies to the United States, where Minister Wang and U.S. Department of Commerce officials witnessed multiple signing ceremonies at our offices at AIT to celebrate commercial partnerships between U.S. and Taiwan companies. It is these types of partnerships that bring our two economies closer in such sectors as clean energy and the digital economy. Minister Wang and her delegation met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, where both sides stressed the importance of facilitating trade and investment between the United States and Taiwan and discussed how best to smooth the way for this investment.
AMCHAM WHITE PAPER
These conversations have allowed us to better understand the needs of our respective business communities. This is an area where AmCham plays such a critical role. Your annual White Paper is an essential tool for policymakers in Washington and Taipei alike. The White Paper, together with your sustained interaction with AIT, the U.S. Government, and our Taiwan partners over the course of the year, point us toward both short-term, concrete objectives and longer-term aspirational goals. We welcome this input and feedback, and we thank AmCham for being such a strong partner of AIT, of the U.S. Government, and of our Taiwan hosts.
TAIWAN INVESTMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
The stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Taiwan exceeds $30 billion, which demonstrates just how much the United States and Taiwan value U.S. investment here in Taiwan. Every one of you here tonight is an embodiment of those strong investment ties. All of us understand that Taiwan is a reliable and trusted place for companies to invest and do business. Of course, investment flows both ways, and we similarly welcome Taiwan’s investments in the United States. TSMC’s $40 billion planned investment in Arizona and Global Wafer’s $5 billion planned investment in Texas are just the most visible examples of how our economies are becoming more closely integrated and how we rely on each other’s expertise. The CHIPS and Science Act, which President Biden signed into law last year, is making it even more attractive for cutting edge companies from Taiwan, as well as their suppliers, to invest in the United States, binding our two economies even closer together and bringing mutual benefit to the United States and Taiwan.
Let me emphasize this point: Our attracting Taiwan investment to the United States does not come at the expense of Taiwan, just as our supporting U.S. investment in Taiwan does not come at the expense of the United States. We understand that doing business overseas can be challenging, as investors face new rules and regulations and different customs – and we stand ready to assist Taiwan’s businesses in addressing any challenges they may face. At the same time, of course, Taiwan companies understand the benefit of diversification and of manufacturing their products close to their customer base. The United States is an attractive investment destination, and so is Taiwan. We can and should continue to cooperate on efforts to strengthen our respective semiconductor industries.
In fact, this is one of the main objectives of next month’s SelectUSA Summit. Taiwan has long been a strong supporter of SelectUSA, sending the largest delegation of business representatives from anywhere in the world. I am sure that several of you in this room have participated in the past, and perhaps some of you plan to join for the first time in May. SelectUSA is the highest profile event in the United States dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment, and Taiwan’s impressive delegations have led to concrete deals that have benefitted both of our economies.
BILATERAL TAX AGREEMENT
It is thanks to this increased Taiwan investment in the United States that we better understand the tax challenges facing Taiwan companies in the United States and U.S. companies here in Taiwan. President Tsai, AmCham, and the Taiwan business community have made very clear their interest in addressing those challenges. As the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen told Congress twice last month, we recognize that there is a problem, and we are looking at potential ways to address it. We welcome AmCham’s continued engagement on this topic.
Let me close by once again saying what an honor it is to serve as the new Chair of the American Institute in Taiwan. Standing here tonight with President Tsai, with Sandra, with Vincent, and with all of you, I see the enormous potential in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship. My number one objective as the Chair of AIT is to help us all tap that potential, to bring our economies even closer together, and to ensure the U.S.-Taiwan partnership continues to thrive. Thank you!