On the morning of April 24, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. President Tsai welcomed Virginia to establish a trade office in Taiwan to further deepen our economic relations, and expressed hope that Taiwan and Virginia will further diversify our cooperation and continue to strengthen our joint efforts in education and academia.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I would like to welcome Governor Youngkin and his delegation to Taiwan. I know you have a packed schedule during your two-day visit, and now, just a few hours after landing at 5 a.m. today, you are already here at the Presidential Office. I want to thank you all for supporting Taiwan and recognizing its importance. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I sincerely welcome you.
Earlier this month, I completed a visit to Taiwan's diplomatic allies Guatemala and Belize, with transits in the United States. I am very happy to continue to receive good friends from the US so soon after returning from this visit. Taiwan has enjoyed sister-state relations with Virginia for 42 years. That Governor Youngkin has chosen Taiwan as the destination for his first overseas trip since taking office is especially significant.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Virginia for its support of Taiwan. In February, the Virginia General Assembly's lower house passed a resolution, with full bipartisan support, in favor of Taiwan's international participation. In the same month, both the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia unanimously passed a proposal to conduct an analysis into establishing a trade office in Taiwan, which Governor Youngkin has already signed into effect.
Last year, Taiwan was Virginia's fifth-largest source of imports from Asia and fourth-largest export market. We enthusiastically welcome Virginia to establish a trade office in Taiwan to further deepen our economic relations.
In addition, Taiwan has long enjoyed cooperation with Virginia in areas such as education and culture. Last August, we signed a second extension of our memorandum of understanding on cooperation in education. I believe that together we will realize even greater success in promoting Mandarin and English language education. There are many prestigious universities in Virginia, including the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Military Institute. Many outstanding graduates of these schools have become important assets across a wide range of sectors in Taiwan.
We hope that through your visit, Taiwan and Virginia will further diversify our collaboration, continue to strengthen our joint efforts in education and academia, and step up our industrial and technology cooperation. Once again, I welcome you all to Taiwan and wish you a successful visit.
Governor Youngkin then delivered remarks, thanking President Tsai for the warm welcome he and his delegation received upon arriving in Taiwan that morning. The governor also expressed gratitude for the Virginia-Taiwan partnership and for President Tsai's strong leadership, which he said is admired across the world. Noting that he has been to Taiwan previously, the governor stated that this is his first international trade mission trip as Virginia's governor, and said that he could not think of a better place to start than Taiwan.
As Virginia and Taiwan have a lot in common, including the ingenuity, talent, and spirit of our peoples, Governor Youngkin said he looks forward to furthering our bond and creating an even more robust and lasting friendship. To that point, he said that he was deeply honored to sign an executive order that morning establishing a Virginia-Taiwan trade office that will deepen our economic and trade ties.
This will be Virginia's fourth international trade office, joining others in Germany, South Korea, and Japan, he said, and represents an enduring commitment to fostering collaboration and enhancing ties with Taiwan. Governor Youngkin further stated that the new Virginia-Taiwan trade office will build on the strong relationship forged with Representative Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) and Virginia's Taiwan friendship caucus that was established earlier this year.
Remarking that numbers speak louder than words, the governor noted that last year, Virginia's exports to Taiwan increased 27 percent over 2020, far outpacing the rest of the United States. With Virginia importing more than US$1 billion in products from Taiwan annually, Governor Youngkin said he looks forward to building on this momentum, and that he believes these numbers will grow exponentially, as our top three imports and exports center around technology and agriculture – the latter being an area in which Virginia excels. He added that Virginia's leading logistics and transportation infrastructure allow it to share these products locally, domestically, and globally. Named the best performing port in North America, the Port of Virginia is the heart of Virginia's economy, he stated, and that coupled with the Virginia-Taiwan trade office, it will allow for a significant increase in the volume of goods moving into and out of the state, benefiting both Taiwan and Virginia.
Governor Youngkin stated that Taiwan's manufacturing expertise has made a mark on companies in Virginia, especially in the semiconductor, power infrastructure equipment, electronics, and technology industries, and added that Virginia is uniquely positioned to attract semiconductor manufacturers to the US, given its extensive IT infrastructure and many technology professionals, as well as top-ranked data center and cybersecurity ecosystems. Noting that both Virginia and Taiwan are home to large Micron facilities, the governor said that in Taiwan, Micron has benefited from the well-developed semiconductor ecosystem that has been built over more than four decades. The governor expressed confidence that together, we can strengthen the supply chains between Virginia and Taiwan, and bring prosperity and opportunity to both our citizens.
Governor Youngkin then stated that he values the people of Taiwan, and that he looks forward to many more years of trade and prosperity, of exchanging educational advancements, and of sharing everything that makes life in Taiwan and life in Virginia so special.