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Remarks by AIT Director Stephen M. Young to the Annual Assembly 2007 of Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC)

OT0709E | Date: 2007-05-21

President Chen, CEPD Chairman Ho, CNAIC Chairman Huang, CNAIC members, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to you today.  I always enjoy speaking to Taiwan's business leaders.  Since I returned to Taiwan as AIT Director, I've been fortunate enough to speak to several business groups, including the American Chamber of Commerce and the ROC-USA Business Council.  Looking out at the entrepreneurs gathered here today, I see the faces of some of the people who have made Taiwan such a remarkable success.  Taiwan is a world power in trade and a pioneer in some of the most advanced and critical technologies in the world.  This is true because of the people in this room. 

I also enjoy speaking to business leaders because you understand the concept of partnership.  Because of this, you understand the most important part of my job, strengthening the partnership between the United States and Taiwan.

The U.S.-Taiwan partnership is already strong, especially in the area of trade.  Taiwan is the ninth largest U.S. trading partner.  But we're working hard to make our trade relationship even better.  The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA, is currently the most effective channel for this purpose.  We also look forward to the inaugural session of a Consultative Committee on Agriculture, a move that will dramatically enhance our coordination on agricultural trade.  In addition, we are exploring with Taiwan how to deepen our cooperation in other areas such as investment and taxation.  In short, we have a very full bilateral economic agenda, and we hope to continue to make progress on these important initiatives.  We are aware that Taiwan has expressed interest in a Free Trade Agreement with the United States.  With the expiration of Trade Promotion Authority in July, we are not in a position to consider new FTA partners at this time.  With this in mind, however, we are open to considering other mechanisms to advance bilateral economic cooperation that make sense to both sides.

There is much work to be done.  The United States is striving to do its part.  I am confident that Taiwan will continue to do the same.  Taiwan has made significant progress but should further strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights.  In addition, Taiwan should continue efforts to build an efficient health care system that is financially sound and driven by market forces.  It should also expand market access in financial and other services.  Progress in these areas will not only help our trade relationship; it will also contribute to growth by creating an environment that rewards innovation.  This is increasingly important as Taiwan evolves into a knowledge-based economy.

A critical way to improve the U.S.-Taiwan trade partnership is for Taiwan to further open its economic relationship with China.  I am sure this is a topic of great interest to all of you as well.  Taiwan businesses have both taken advantage of and contributed to the remarkable economic growth of China.  More cross-Strait economic opening will strengthen Taiwan's global competitiveness.  It will help Taiwan to realize its potential as a regional center for logistics, finance and other services.  It will also help U.S. businesses build on their close relationships with Taiwan firms to enhance their position on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Closer cross-Strait ties can also contribute more broadly to U.S. and Taiwan interests in the region.  The members of CNAIC can play an important part in this by setting an example of good corporate governance for Chinese firms.  Taiwan firms should observe high standards of environmental protection and labor rights in China.  This can help speed the development of a modern China that is a constructive partner for both the United States and Taiwan.

AIT looks forward to continue to work with the Taiwan business community toward these important goals of mutual prosperity and regional stability.  The U.S.-Taiwan partnership already has a long history of great accomplishments.  Together, we will achieve even more in the future.  Thank you.

Director's Speeches