On the afternoon of November 27, President Tsai Ing-wen attended the 2023 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference. In remarks, President Tsai stated that our economy has grown despite the pandemic and other global challenges, proving that Taiwan is a secure investment destination. President Tsai noted that in addition to our own recent efforts in upgrading Taiwan's infrastructure, we have worked to strengthen our trade ties and facilitate trade and investment flows, so as to build a more stable and predictable investment environment. She added that we are aligning ourselves with international standards and developing a sustainable economy that is favorable to long-term investment. The president also said that amidst rapid changes in the global landscape, Taiwan has shown itself as a major contributor to economic prosperity and stability, and that we are working to make Taiwan an even more favorable investment destination as we consolidate our standing on the world stage.
A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:
It is a pleasure to see you all at the 2023 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference. First, I would like to give a warm welcome to all of the business leaders joining us here today, from Taiwan and around the world. Your continued investment shows that you remain confident in Taiwan. And we appreciate your continuing support.
And a special thanks to the Ministry of Economic Affairs for making this event such a success over the years.
Since the conference was first launched 20 years ago, it has been one of Taiwan's premier investment forums, bringing together world-leading businesses and showcasing Taiwan's vibrant investment environment.
Now, new times have brought unique challenges. An unprecedented pandemic, supply chain disruptions, global inflation, and intensifying climate change have all put our resilience to the test.
Through it all, Taiwan has not only stood firm, it has flourished. In recent years, our economy has grown despite the pandemic and other global challenges, proving that Taiwan is a secure investment destination.
Notably, our exports last year reached a record high of US$479 billion. Our labor market has also remained very stable, with the unemployment rate this October reaching a 23-year low for the same period.
From 2016 to 2022, Taiwan's GDP grew at an average of 3.4 percent per year; and the average annual growth during the years of the pandemic was over 4 percent, both higher than the respective global averages.
Much of this success is thanks to the growing business confidence in Taiwan. Foreign investment in Taiwan from 2016 to this October reached US$79.5 billion, with last year's FDI alone topping US$13 billion, a 15-year high.
As of this month, our Three Major Programs for Investing in Taiwan, which launched in 2019, have helped bring in US$70 billion in investment from Taiwanese firms.
Adding to this investor confidence are Taiwan's strengths in driving innovation. It seems like every day we are greeted with new advancements in fields like 5G, generative AI, and high-performance computing – all key drivers of innovation and growth.
And Taiwan, as the international community has also come to realize over the past few years, is actually a key player in these emerging technologies because of our semiconductor industry. This is an industry that produces 90 percent of the world's most advanced chips. So it is no surprise that many large multinationals are expanding their presence in Taiwan.
In just the past few years, ASML, Lam Research, Merck, and Entegris have opened up new facilities in Taiwan. And this month, I attended the launch of a new Micron facility in Taichung.
The fact that these world-leading companies have chosen Taiwan to expand their projects is testament to Taiwan's reputation as a reliable and secure partner in the semiconductor supply chain.
Without a doubt, Taiwan has many strengths and advantages that make it an attractive place for doing business. Nevertheless, we are working to make Taiwan an even more favorable investment destination.
In addition to our own recent efforts in upgrading Taiwan's infrastructure, we have worked to strengthen our trade ties. In June this year, the first agreement was signed under the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. And in the past two months we signed an enhanced trade partnership arrangement with the UK, and completed negotiations on a foreign investment promotion and protection arrangement with Canada.
Our work in this area is to facilitate trade and investment flows and build a more stable and predictable investment environment.
We are also focusing on aligning ourselves with international standards and developing a sustainable economy that is favorable to long-term investment.
This policy is in part directed at the important area of green energy, which we are developing in line with our Pathway to Net-Zero Emissions in 2050.
With these efforts, Taiwan is consolidating its standing on the world stage. In the latest International Institute for Management Development's World Competitiveness Ranking, Taiwan ranked sixth overall, its fifth consecutive year of improvement and its best performance so far. And, importantly, it has secured top-10 spots in the scientific and technological infrastructure indices, and is first in total R&D personnel per capita.
Amidst rapid changes in the global landscape, Taiwan has kept pace, showing itself as a major contributor to economic prosperity and stability. This is due not just to our own strengths in technology and manufacturing, but also to the outstanding investors who are choosing Taiwan, many of whom are represented here today.
Lastly, allow me to congratulate the representatives who will be signing Letters of Intent and those who will be recognized with appreciation awards. I am confident this conference will continue to be an effective platform for investment in Taiwan for the next 20 years and beyond. Thank you.