On the afternoon of July 13, President Tsai Ing-wen announced that Dr. Morris Chang (張忠謀), founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), will once again serve as her representative to APEC in 2021, and met with Dr. Chang to discuss his role. The president asked Dr. Chang to make two proposals at the closed-door APEC Informal Leaders' Meeting on July 16: first, to express our hope that APEC do more to promptly and equitably secure COVID-19 vaccines for its member economies; and second, to call upon APEC members to uphold our shared commitment to free trade in order to contribute to the global recovery and meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
Today, I would like to announce that I have once again invited Dr. Morris Chang to serve as our Leader's Representative at this year's APEC meetings. Dr. Chang is the founder of TSMC, whose standing in the global semiconductor industry needs no further introduction.
For the past few years, Dr. Chang has represented me at APEC meetings, during which he has shared his unique insights on regional trade and industrial development. As global supply chains have shifted in recent years, Dr. Chang has shored up TSMC's place as a leading international company and helped Taiwan shine on the international stage.
APEC is the most important international platform in which Taiwan is a member. As the world continues to suffer from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand, as APEC host, has chosen "Join, Work, Grow. Together" as this year's theme, and has scheduled an additional Informal Leaders' Retreat on July 16, ahead of the formal Economic Leaders' Meeting in November, to reflect APEC members' hopes for a prompt economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region.
Following a recent outbreak of COVID-19, the people of Taiwan have been forced to adjust both their lives and their work. Our government is working hard to contain the spread of disease while reducing the impact of the pandemic on industry. We hope to exchange our disease prevention experience with other countries so we can emerge from the pandemic as soon as possible.
The closed-door meeting coming up this week is being held in the hope that joint discussions among leader's representatives can further regional public health cooperation, strengthen supply chains for vaccines and other necessary pandemic-prevention supplies, and help coordinate economic stimulus measures. Of course, it is also critical that we consider environmental sustainability in the course of our economic recovery.
During the upcoming meeting on July 16, I have asked Dr. Chang to make two proposals:
First, we believe APEC should make greater efforts to promptly and equitably secure vaccines for all members.
The pandemic has entered a new stage, and vaccines are now available. But global vaccine production capacity is still not meeting international demand. APEC members must help one another to stabilize and expand the supply of vaccines. That would help us control the pandemic more effectively, and would benefit our economic recovery.
Second, to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world, APEC member economies should work together to uphold the spirit and principles of free trade in order to contribute to the global economic recovery.
This pandemic is a global challenge, but it is also an opportunity. The governments of every democratic country are actively working to invest in the future and create more resilient systems of governance.
Dr. Chang has long been an iconic figure in Taiwanese industry, having led his firm and many others through the major challenges of the Asian financial crisis, the dot-com bubble, and the subprime mortgage crisis.
I am sure that with his outstanding experience and vision, Dr. Chang can once again represent me and Taiwan, exchanging experiences with other leaders to create more space for Taiwan's international cooperation.
In closing, I want to thank Dr. Chang once again for his willingness to shoulder this important responsibility, represent me at APEC, and speak up for Taiwan. I wish him every success.
Dr. Chang then delivered remarks, saying that it is an honor to once again be appointed by President Tsai to serve as her representative at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. He noted that there have been no in-person APEC meetings for the past three years, as the 2019 meetings were suspended due to riots in Chile, Malaysia decided to hold the 2020 meetings online due to the spread of COVID-19, and this year's host New Zealand will do likewise because of the ongoing pandemic.
Dr. Chang emphasized that, while this year's meetings will be held virtually, we will still have many opportunities to exchange views with other leaders. As to the two proposals that the president asked him to raise during the upcoming closed-door meeting, Dr. Chang noted that he and President Tsai see eye-to-eye on these matters, and said he is pleased and honored to make these proposals on the president's behalf.
In addition to the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting normally scheduled for November, New Zealand will host an unofficial leaders' meeting by teleconference on July 16 to review the region's response to COVID-19 and plans for economic recovery. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern earlier appointed Vangelis Vitalis, Deputy Secretary in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the APEC 2021 Senior Officials' Meeting Chair, as her special envoy to deliver an invitation to President Tsai.
The theme of the informal meeting is, "Confronted by COVID-19, what are the opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region to collaborate to move through the health crisis and to accelerate economic recovery in a manner that lays the foundations for a better future?" President Tsai expressed her hope that Dr. Chang will continue to relay the message that Taiwan is willing and able to work with other APEC economies to fight the pandemic, contribute to the international community, and push for sustainable and inclusive economic recovery and growth that does not leave anyone behind.