President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) led by Chairman Leo Seewald on the afternoon of September 5. In her remarks, the president expressed hope that by signing a bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the United States, the two countries can continue to deepen our bilateral partnership so that together, we can enhance the international competitiveness of industries in both countries.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I am delighted to welcome our friends from AmCham to the Presidential Office today. Over the years, AmCham has always worked with our government to deepen the Taiwan-US economic partnership, and we appreciate your efforts.
I also want to congratulate you all on the successful 2019 CEO Mission to Washington DC in June. I know you met with many of our important friends in the government and private sectors, and I look forward to hearing about your personal insights from the trip.
Over the past three years, Taiwan-US trade relations have continued to deepen and develop. Taiwan-US trade in goods was up 11.5% last year, totaling almost USD$76 billion. We have a strong foundation to build on. The changing global trade situation presents us with many challenges, but also many opportunities. So in the future, I believe that we can work together to create even better results.
Since I came into office, Taiwan has implemented many reform policies to enhance competitiveness, including policies to improve the domestic investment environment. And we have made concrete progress, as AmCham noted in this year's White Paper.
Foreign investment can play a crucial role in upgrading and transforming Taiwan's industrial structure. So we were pleased to see that the latest US Business Environment Risk Intelligence report ranked Taiwan as the world's fourth best investment destination. Taiwan's strong Intellectual Property regime and emphasis on the rule of law are also advantages that help attract, and protect, innovative investments.
Over the past year, many US firms have also given Taiwan's economy a big vote of confidence. Cutting-edge tech firms like CISCO, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon AWS have all set up R&D or Innovation Centers here. US-based Micron Technology will also invest NTD$66 billion for plant expansion in Taiwan.
So far this year, investment pledges by Taiwanese firms have exceeded NTD$560 billion. And we have more applications in the pipeline. Those investments will bring some R&D and high-value manufacturing back to Taiwan. I also believe they will spur more opportunities for Taiwan-US cooperation.
We hope that by signing a bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the United States, we can continue to deepen our bilateral partnership, and collaborate to enhance the international competitiveness of industries in both countries. I also hope that AmCham will fully support Taiwan, so that together, we can promote economic and trade growth in both countries.