Deputy Minister C.C. Chen Addresses AmCham Luncheon

AmCham was honored to invite Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (“C.C. Chen”) to speak on January 6 at its first luncheon of 2021 – and its first event as the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan – held in the Sherwood Taipei’s third-floor ballroom. Deputy Minister Chen addressed an audience of nearly 80 members and their guests, detailing the progress made at the inaugural U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue (EPPD) that took place last November.

AmCham Taiwan President Leo Seewald provided some opening remarks, introducing the speaker and briefing members on upcoming events. Seewald highlighted the importance of the EPPD as one of the growing number of avenues for meaningful engagement between Taiwan and the U.S. “We’ve always been focused on free trade agreements and bilateral trade agreements – the big stuff – but this is a different way to work toward those goals,” he said, before giving the floor to Deputy Minister Chen.

As the leader of the Taiwanese delegation to the EPPD, Chen had some particularly eye-opening insights into the current economic relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, as well as where it is heading. In his speech, he noted that the U.S. Department of State-led initiative was aimed at encouraging strategic cooperation and ensuring economic security through prosperity.

The dialogue also included discussion on how to provide a platform for U.S. businesses to restructure their global supply chains, with an eye to promoting Taiwan as a capable, complementary, trusted partner in this process. Both sides view the following areas as advantageous for U.S.-Taiwan supply chain collaboration:

  • Semiconductors, communications, AI, and other cutting-edge technologies
  • Innovative green energy
  • Strategic medical stockpile
  • Electric vehicles

Chen emphasized that the EPPD is no less significant than the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks that took place between his ministry and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative over several years – and which stalled out in 2016. It may even be as significant as a free trade agreement, he said, in that it represents a political commitment and a bipartisan consensus in Washington regarding Taiwan. It also stands for a “consensus between governments and the business community.”

Looking ahead, Chen said that the incoming Biden administration’s emphasis on improving the U.S. economy underscores the value of the EPPD and of Taiwan’s status as a strong economic partner. He called the dialogue a “living platform,” and noted its importance to strengthening the supply side of the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. However, a platform for advancing the market side is still needed. Therefore, Chen concluded, he and his colleagues in government will continue in their unwavering pursuit of a U.S.-Taiwan bilateral trade agreement moving forward.

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