During a meeting on the morning of July 11 with a delegation from the Atlantic Council, a think tank based in Washington, DC, President Tsai Ing-wen briefed her visitors on cooperation between Taiwan and the United States in economic and international affairs, and expressed hope that the two countries can continue to enhance bilateral cooperation and exchanges in a wide range of areas.
In remarks, President Tsai first welcomed her visitors and noted that it was a year earlier that a group from the Atlantic Council had last come to Taiwan. Over the past year, she said, a lot has changed in both countries.
The president pointed out that the Trump administration has made many adjustments to US policy on Asia, especially vis-à-vis North Korea and related countries, and that US trade policy stresses the importance of "fair" trade agreements. In addition, the US decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership has prompted Taiwan and other Asian economies to reassess their trade policies. Taiwan's government will continue to closely monitor any further changes in these policies.
Over the past year in Taiwan, she said, the government has achieved a lot of steady progress in implementing its policies on reform and the economy. The Legislative Yuan just passed several laws in June on pension reform to ensure the solvency of pension funds for civil servants and public school employees through the next generation, and last week passed the Special Act Governing the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program. This week, moreover, the Legislative Yuan will begin discussing the details of the first phase of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, and if the program can be launched smoothly it will provide a powerful boost to Taiwan's economic development.
President Tsai further explained that the government's efforts over the past year have improved the country's economic performance. For example, Taiwan's GDP growth in 2017 is projected to hit 2% or higher, and foreign direct investment and exports are both expected to continue to increase. As for international relations, Taiwan continues to enhance ties with important strategic partners such as the US and Japan. The recent decision of the US regarding arms sales to Taiwan demonstrates the Trump administration's support for the Taiwan Relations Act and Taiwan's national defense self-sufficiency.
Turning to the subject of Taiwan-US relations, President Tsai noted that economic cooperation between Taiwan and the US has grown closer recently. At the SelectUSA Investment Summit held by the US in June, the Taiwan delegation had excellent discussions with the US and other countries. With respect to international affairs, Taiwan and the US have engaged in broad-ranging cooperation and exchanges in such areas as the Taiwan-US Global Cooperation and Training Framework, public health, the digital economy, and youth participation.
The president stated her belief that Taiwan and the US could work together in many other areas in the future. She further said that the Atlantic Council has always been an important pillar of support for Taiwan-US relations, and that it is an important think tank for US policy on Asia. The president encouraged her visitors to provide their valuable suggestions in order to enhance Taiwan-US cooperation in many different fields.
The group was led by Mr. Neal Wolin, a member of the Atlantic Council Board of Directors.