During a meeting on the morning of July 18 with Taiwan's delegation to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), President Tsai Ing-wen praised the delegates for their active participation in ABAC, noting that their efforts have increased Taiwan's international visibility. She also urged the delegates to continue using the APEC platform to help Taiwanese firms create more business opportunities, and help Taiwan continue to excel on the international stage.
In remarks, President Tsai noted that since taking up their duties as delegates and deputy delegates to ABAC a year ago, her visitors also participated in ABAC meetings in Shenzhen, China and Lima, Peru in 2016, as well as Bangkok, Thailand and Seoul, Korea in 2017. The president thanked everyone for their hard work and contributions, and for accepting re-appointment to the ABAC delegation, which is a very heavy responsibility. She also expressed confidence that this battle-tested team will help Taiwan continue to excel on the international stage.
President Tsai pointed out that during last year's APEC Economic Leaders' Week, I-Mei Foods Co. Chairman Henry Kao (高志尚) helped the Taiwan delegation engage business leaders from many different countries and communicate Taiwan's thinking on economic and trade matters. Chairman Kao currently co-chairs the ABAC Connectivity Working Group, and in that role has increased Taiwan's visibility in the international business community.
The president mentioned that PChome Online Inc. Chairman Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志) has been working on digital economy issues, and on numerous occasions at ABAC meetings has encouraged Southeast Asian nations to adopt Taiwan's successful model for digital economy development. His efforts in this regard have dovetailed nicely with the Taiwan government's New Southbound Policy, and have helped enhance bilateral economic and trade ties. Since Chairman Jan has also recently been appointed as an ambassador at large, she hopes he can contribute more on digital economy issues.
O-Bank Vice Chairperson Tina Yi-Chun Lo (駱怡君), as co-chair of the ABAC MSME and Entrepreneurship Working Group, has vigorously pursued financial inclusion and financial technology (fintech) issues, the president said, while also inviting representatives from Taiwan's private sector to take part in meetings so that APEC can benefit from the innovative perspectives that Taiwan has to offer.
The president pointed out that anti-globalization forces are exerting great pressure in countries around the world, and as a result, APEC is placing greater emphasis on issues involving small and medium enterprises, e-commerce, innovation & entrepreneurship, and food security in hopes that the general public and enterprises can share equitably in the benefits of economic growth.
President Tsai also stressed that Taiwan is well-positioned to be very competitive in the SME, innovation, and entrepreneurship areas. For example, the APEC SME O2O Initiative that Taiwan proposed will be the focus of six events to be held this year in Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These events will provide Taiwan's innovative entrepreneurs with excellent opportunities for exposure, and will help consolidate Taiwan's leadership position on SME issues within APEC. Because Taiwan faces a more challenging international situation than other countries, finding a way forward will require even more unity and cooperation between government, the business community, and civil society.
The president stated that her visitors represent the competitiveness of Taiwan's different industries as well as the experience and innovative spirit of generations of Taiwanese. More of Taiwan's central government agencies participate, and at higher levels, in APEC than in any other intergovernmental international organization. For Taiwan, this is a matter of great political significance, and also brings economic and trade benefits. She called on the delegates to continue making good use of the ABAC platform to help Taiwan's industries align more closely with international practices and create more business opportunities.
The delegation also included the following deputy delegates to ABAC: Grace Chung (鍾錦墀), Researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research; Jamie Lin (林之晨), Chairman of the Taiwan Internet and E-Commerce Association; and Joy Siew (蕭至佑), Head of Global Business Department and Public Relations Department of O-Bank.