While transiting in Houston, Texas on her way back to Taiwan following state visits to Paraguay and Belize, President Tsai Ing-wen attended a business roundtable with representatives of Taiwanese companies operating in the Texas metropolis and neighboring regions on the morning of Sunday, August 19 local time (early morning of August 20 Taipei time).
The following is a transcript of the president's remarks:
[Louisiana] Governor [John Bel] Edwards, Congresswoman [Eddie Bernice] Johnson, members of the business community, distinguished guests: Good morning!
Today's roundtable is an opportunity to hear directly from Taiwanese companies about their experiences in doing business in the US. We have many firms represented here today, including from the manufacturing, ICT, and logistics sectors. I look forward to engaging with everyone on how the government can better support our businesses operating here, and how the public and private sectors can work together to promote stronger commercial, investment, and trade partnerships between the US and Taiwan.
In particular, I am pleased to see that the CPC Corporation of Taiwan plans to purchase liquid natural gas (LNG) from the US. This deal with Cheniere Energy, which is headquartered here in Houston, will support thousands of well-paying jobs across Texas and Louisiana.
And it comes on top of another LNG deal that will start to be fulfilled next year. By diversifying our energy mix, and where this energy is coming from, this represents an important step forward for Taiwan's energy security and our shift towards a greener future.
Another Taiwanese company that has been doing great work across Texas and Louisiana is Formosa Petrochemical. In Point Comfort, about a three-hour drive from here, they are nearing completion of a major expansion project. And in St. James Parish in Louisiana, they have recently announced the construction of another manufacturing plant, a multi-billion dollar project that will create thousands of jobs upon completion.
In fact, Formosa Petrochemical is employing so many skilled workers that they have already had to convert an old elementary school to a new training and development center. So far, 261 graduates of this center have already become plant operators.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention Foxconn, which not only has an assembly plant here in Houston, but also has already begun construction on their new complex in Wisconsin.
These companies, as well as the thousands of other Taiwanese businesses operating across the US, are positive examples of what our two countries can accomplish. From steel to textiles, startups to high-tech firms, Taiwan plays an essential role in the economic fabric of America. They showcase the mutually beneficial nature of our relationship, which will no doubt grow stronger as more companies choose to do business in the US, and as Taiwan's economic situation improves under my administration.
Finally, I want to say both our countries have an interest in strengthening the free market system, protecting a level playing field, and seeing companies operate freely, without being subject to arbitrary political demands. This is the foundation on which our economies have been built – and I hope the US government will continue to work with us, hand in hand, in defending.
I want to thank Governor Edwards for joining us today. Thank you for your efforts enhancing Louisiana's relationship with Taiwan. And I look forward to your input in the time ahead. Thank you.