On the morning of April 26, President Tsai Ing-wen accompanied President Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei Falla of the Republic of Guatemala on a visit to the RAC Electric Vehicles factory at the Port of Taichung to learn more about the development of Taiwan's electric vehicle industry. In remarks, President Tsai expressed hope that Taiwan and Guatemala will continue to bolster cooperation and expand the international market for Taiwan's electric vehicle industry. The president said that Taiwan is willing to continue sharing the experience and technologies of its electric vehicle industry, and to work together with Guatemala toward the goal of a global transition to net-zero emissions.
Upon arrival, President Tsai and President Giammattei took in a presentation on RAC Electric Vehicles by company Chairman Kim Tsai (蔡裕慶), before touring the factory and viewing an electric bus in order to learn more about the industry.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
When I visited Guatemala a few weeks ago, President Giammattei told us that his country had passed a law promoting electric vehicles just last year and would very much welcome Taiwanese electric vehicle manufacturers to invest in Guatemala. That is why I have invited President Giammattei to join me in learning more about the development of the electric vehicle industry in Taiwan.
RAC Electric Vehicles, which we are visiting today, set a benchmark for innovation in the electric vehicle industry with its one-stop service. In addition to electric vehicles, the company provides energy storage systems, smart charge scheduling, and electric bus station construction services, showing its excellence in both software and hardware. A formidable company like RAC Electric Vehicles has naturally had an international presence for some time already, with operations in Japan.
Guatemala already has electric buses from Taiwan in trial operation. I believe that as we continue to bolster our cooperation, we will be able to develop a bigger international market for Taiwan's electric vehicle industry. We hope that as we work to implement energy transformation and promote green transportation, we can also spur the upgrading and development of industry, creating new job opportunities.
We hope this visit will benefit the development of Guatemala's green transportation. We are very happy to continue sharing the experience and technologies of our electric vehicle industry, and to work together with Guatemala toward the goal of a global transition to net-zero emissions.
President Giammattei also delivered remarks, thanking President Tsai for inviting him to visit the RAC Electric Vehicles factory at the Port of Taichung and noting that this government-approved facility is where Taiwan's first domestically made electric bus was produced. The president expressed his belief that the future of the planet depends on investments such as this, which give urban residents a more environmentally and ecologically friendly transportation option, helping reduce carbon emissions and fight against climate change.
President Giammattei pointed out that Guatemala has been ranked as a highly resilient economy in Central America, and that post-pandemic its economy has been the most stable and the fastest to recover in the region, leading to it being named as one of the countries in the region with a very good investment climate. He added that Guatemala is initiating a series of policies to attract foreign direct investment, including the provision of tax breaks, free trade zones, and outstanding talent.
The president stated that as the first country in Latin America to pass legislation promoting the development of electric vehicles, Guatemala can produce and purchase electric vehicles without a tax burden. Noting that there are not many countries with these kinds of tax exemptions and laws, the president said he believes this legal framework and favorable investment climate can help companies working to promote electric vehicles and green energy to provide Guatemalan consumers with a more environmentally friendly option.
As it is advantageously located near the considerable market of the North American Free Trade Agreement countries – Canada, the United States, and Mexico – President Giammattei said that Guatemala is suited to provide nearshoring options. He added that with the free trade agreement signed between Central American countries and the US, Central American exports to the US have the benefit of being duty free. President Giammattei said that Guatemala's doors are open to all manufacturers and that it provides many benefits for them. He also invited companies to work with Guatemala to help realize the economic transformation, social development, and prosperity of his country.
President Giammattei commended Taiwan and Taiwanese enterprises for their vision of an innovative and environmentally friendly industry. He then expressed his confidence that the friendship, cooperation, steadfast alliance, and close economic and academic ties between Guatemala and the Republic of China (Taiwan) will give rise to even more innovative, excellent, and mutually beneficial investment opportunities. The president closed by inviting RAC Electric Vehicles to set up a facility in Guatemala or to use Guatemala as a base for its Latin American operations.
Also in attendance at the event were Guatemalan Congressional President Shirley Joanna Rivera Zaldaña, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores, Minister of the Economy Janio Moacyr Rosales Alegría, and Ambassador Oscar Adolfo Padilla Lam.