President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) on the morning of January 16. The president explained to her visitors that Taiwan is pursuing a "5+2 industrial innovation program" and the New Southbound Policy to promote industrial and economic transformation, and will continue to push for tax reform and deregulation this year to create a better investment climate. She also said she hopes to work with them to increase Taiwan-US trade and investment.
In remarks, President Tsai noted that this was the third visit to Taiwan by former Chairman Matt Salmon of the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific since his retirement from the US House of Representatives. He was one of Taiwan's best friends in the US Congress, where he consistently championed Taiwan's right to international participation, and supported the Taiwan Relations Act. His support for Taiwan remains unchanged today as he continues working for stronger Taiwan-US relations, she said.
President Tsai also expressed sincere respect for the Council's continued development under USTBC President Rupert Hammond-Chambers' leadership. She pointed out that this visit to Taiwan by the USTBC comes at a time of economic change for both Taiwan and the US. At a time like this, governments must often make difficult decisions that require wisdom and courage.
The president stated that Taiwan is keeping a close watch on the Trump administration's economic strategies such as tax reform, deregulation, and policies related to trade and investment. For many years, the US government has strongly supported Taiwan, and now that the US economic policies are at a crossroads, Taiwan hopes to do what it can to help the US usher in a new economic era.
President Tsai told her visitors that Taiwan sent the largest delegation in history to last year's SelectUSA Investment Summit, and since then, many Taiwanese corporations have expressed interest in investing in the US. We are also seeing many opportunities for US corporations to partner with companies in Taiwan. For example, we are pursuing our "5+2 industrial innovation program" and the New Southbound Policy to achieve industrial and economic transformation that will create many opportunities for cooperation with US corporations. Over the past year, Taiwan has exceeded expectations in terms of GDP growth, employment rate, and stock market performance. And, most importantly, new investments in innovative industries, green energy, and the defense industry are gradually generating high-quality job opportunities.
The president mentioned that the Taiwan government is also continuing to monitor the needs of foreign companies. Investors in new startups keep urging the government to loosen restrictions on the hiring of foreign talent. Last November, she said, our Legislative Yuan passed the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals, which makes it easier to obtain visas and resident certificates while providing increased legal protections in Taiwan for foreign families. This year, she added, we will continue to push for tax reform and work to amend the Company Act so that our markets will attract more foreign investors.
Wrapping up her remarks, President Tsai expressed confidence that more good news about improving Taiwan-US economic and trade relations will be heard this year. The president also said that she looks forward to working with the USTBC to take advantage of Taiwan's economic strengths to promote more two-way trade and investment.