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President Tsai meets ROC delegation to 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Week
President Tsai meets ROC delegation to 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Week

While meeting on the morning of November 11 with the delegation that will represent the Republic of China (ROC) at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Week, President Tsai Ing-wen expressed hope that the delegation will communicate to the international community Taiwan's determination to participate in regional economic integration, and that they will call attention to the fact that Taiwan acts as an innovator, a sharer, and a provider of service in the process of regional economic and trade development.

The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:

The 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Week will be held in Lima, Peru from the 19th to the 20th of November, and I'm very happy to have this opportunity before the ROC delegation departs to meet with Leader's Representative James Soong (宋楚瑜, Chairman of the People First Party) and the other members of the delegation.

I want to specially thank Chairman Soong for agreeing to assume the heavy responsibility of representing our nation at the forum. Chairman Soong is a very experienced politician who has served the nation for many years in the public sector. He has always been highly regarded, both for his outstanding track record as a public official and his incisive political insights. When people need advice, it is often to Chairman Soong that they turn.

Chairman Soong and I belong to different political parties, and competition does exist between political parties. Naturally, there are times when we hold different views. But when the leader of a political party represents the country at an international event, we must be unified, because our shared goals are to enable Taiwan to engage with the rest of the world and to bring worldwide attention to Taiwan.

I asked Chairman Soong to act as my envoy in representing the ROC at the APEC Economic Leaders' Week precisely to show that the people of Taiwan hope to be involved in the international community and cooperate with the rest of the world. We all have this wish, regardless of our party affiliation or political leanings.

APEC is the most important forum in the Asia-Pacific region for multilateral economic and trade cooperation. It was founded with the purpose of using dialogue and consultation to spur regional economic integration, growth, and development.

So, I hope to rely on Chairman Soong's abilities to send out a message to the international community. I want to show the international community Taiwan's determination to carry out economic and trade liberalization and facilitation. And I want to strengthen cooperative relations with APEC members and other economies throughout the world.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, I would like to entrust Chairman Soong and our delegation with a few important tasks.

The first task is to interact broadly with the international community in order to bring back new opportunities for development of Taiwan's economy.

Ever since I came to office, our new administration has been engaged in an all-out effort to revitalize Taiwan's economy, and taking part in APEC is one way to spur domestic industrial development, by participating in regional economic integration and pursuing our New Southbound Policy.

The theme of this year's APEC gathering is "Quality Growth and Human Development," which includes the following four priorities: Advancing Regional Economic Integration, Enhancing the Regional Food Market, Working on the Modernization of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and Developing Human Capital.

Taiwan agrees with and supports all of these development priorities. I hope that Chairman Soong, in his capacity as the ROC Leader's Representative, will be able to engage in wide-ranging exchanges of views with other countries so that Taiwan can better understand what nations around the world are doing. This would hopefully present an opportunity for Taiwan to achieve further economic development.

The second task, in response to economic and political changes throughout the world, is to closely monitor developments in the process of regional economic integration.

This year (2016) is an important year for Asia-Pacific regional economic integration. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was formally signed this past February in New Zealand, and the agreement has moved on to the ratification stage. Also, talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are continuing. And at this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Week, there will be discussions on the Collective Strategic Study on Issues Related to the Realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

Global political and economic changes affect the process of regional economic integration, so I want to ask all the delegation members to continue familiarizing themselves during the APEC proceedings with the latest developments on this front, and to pay close attention to what changes might be expected moving forward.

As for the third task, I would like to ask Chairman Soong to communicate to the international community the strong desire of the people of Taiwan to take part in regional economic integration.

In order to promote Taiwan's external trade, we must be proactively involved in the mechanisms of regional economic integration. We will not only sign free trade agreements with other countries, but are also working to join regional economic integration mechanisms and get prepared to create a more diverse and robust external trade network for Taiwan.

APEC has always been the most important platform for Taiwan in its effort to gain participation in regional economic integration. I would like to ask Chairman Soong and the other delegation members to take advantage of their attendance at the APEC proceedings in Peru to clearly communicate Taiwan's stance to the world. I hope you will actively seize opportunities to interact with the leaders of other APEC members and make the world see that Taiwan has the ability to act as an innovator, a sharer, and a provider of service to others in the process of regional economic and trade development.

And finally, I would like to ask our cabinet agencies with relevant portfolios and our friends in the business community to demonstrate solidarity and do everything possible to help Chairman Soong and our delegation so that they can achieve success at this year's APEC summit.

I look forward to a fruitful trip for Chairman Soong and all the delegation members, and I thank you all for your contributions to Taiwan's international participation.

After the conclusion of President Tsai's remarks, Chairman Soong delivered remarks of his own. He thanked President Tsai for taking the time to meet with him and the delegation, declared that he would make certain to fulfill the key tasks entrusted to him, and pledged to set aside party loyalties, maintain solidarity, and make a meaningful contribution to the ROC economy, thereby showing the world how far Taiwan has come in its democratic development.

Chairman Soong pointed out that the delegation has three important tasks to fulfill. First, it needs to scout out business opportunities in order to identify new engines for Taiwan's future economic development. Second, in the face of changing global economic conditions, the delegation needs to hear first-hand from people in other countries about their views regarding changes taking place in the world. In particular, in the wake of the result of the US presidential election, delegation members need to get a feel for whether a new round of protectionism is likely to affect economic and trade development. And third, delegation members will be speaking with economic leaders from many other countries. They will also collect related information, share the spirit of public-private partnerships in partnering with the whole world, and communicate Taiwan's resolve to proactively contribute to the international community.

Chairman Soong thanked staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their assistance with preparations for this trip, and also thanked the various government agencies that provided needed information. He stressed that the delegation will work hard to make a modest but valuable contribution to the world, and to see that the world looks upon Taiwan with a totally new appreciation.

In addition to Chairman Soong, the ROC's delegation to the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders' Week will also include: Mr. Soong's daughter Ms. Soong Cheng-mai (宋鎮邁); Minister without Portfolio John C. C. Deng (鄧振中), who will be serving as the delegation spokesperson; National Development Council Minister Chen Tain-Jy (陳添枝); National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁); Chairman Qin Jia Hong (秦嘉鴻) of the Manufactures United General Association of Industrial Park of ROC; Ma Kai (馬凱), chief editorial writer at the Economic Daily News; Professor Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) of National Taiwan University; Business Today publisher and spokesperson Hsieh Chin-ho (謝金河); Legislative Yuan member Lee Hung-Chun (李鴻鈞); Wei Jhih-jhong (魏志中), a staff member at the office of the Leader's Representative; I-Mei Foods Co. Chairperson Henry Kao (高志尚); PChome Online Inc. Chairman Hung-tze Jan (詹宏志); and Industrial Bank of Taiwan Vice Chairperson Tina Y. Lo (駱怡君). Also present at the meeting was Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維). 

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