President Lee Teng-hui today attended the Twenty-second Joint Conference of ROC-USA and USA-ROC Business Councils, and delivered an address which follows:
Chairman Koo, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The Twenty-second Joint Conference of ROC-USA and USA-ROC Business Councils opens today in the city of Taipei. On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China, I would like to extend a most sincere welcome to our distinguished guests who have come from afar.
Since the first Joint Conference, you have endeavored to strengthen the relationship among members of the two business communities, to expand bilateral relations in commerce and trade, and to increase opportunities for investment and technological collaboration. Your organizations have received wide recognition for your valuable contributions to building a channel for communication and improving the friendly relations between our two countries.
The Asian financial turmoil of the past year has dealt tremendous blows to the economies of many countries in this region, even affecting the political and social stability of some. In contrast, Taiwan has been a picture of economic resilience. Let us briefly examine why. There are four major factors in addition to Taiwan's political stability and solid economic fundamentals. First, Taiwan's industrial sector has already transformed from labor intensive industries to capital and technology intensive industries. Second, small and medium sized businesses make up the bulk of the business sector. Third, we have adopted prudent and cautious financial regulation policies. Fourth, we have no foreign debt. For these reasons, we have been able to adjust appropriately to the financial crisis and have built a model of economic development that others can learn from.
This joint conference has "Taiwan: Gateway to Asian Business Recovery" as its theme. To be discussing the Republic of China's experience in economic development under a democratic system at a time when the Asian financial crisis has yet to find a solution will indeed have far-reaching significance. Furthermore, I am confident that the valuable consensus arrived from your discussions on topics such as ROC-US relations, banking, finance, telecommunications, information, infrastructure and environmental protection will greatly benefit the future development of the business sectors in our two countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen: As the new century is dawning upon us, global interdependence increases with each passing day. And, the relations between the United States and Asian countries will grow ever closer. The Republic of China and the United States have been longstanding partners. Furthermore, the United States has provided the most assistance to Taiwan in its modernization process. It is my hope that in the future the Republic of China and the United States will continue to abide by their ideals of freedom and democracy to build an even more solid and substantive partnership, and jointly contribute to peace, cooperation and prosperity in the Asia Pacific Region.
Lastly, I wish the conference a success and each and everyone, good health and happiness. Thank you.