Director Matera, Senior Adviser Glaser, Representative Kao, Secretary General Hsiang, panelists, colleagues, and members of the audience; good morning to all.
Thank you to CSIS for hosting us this morning. It is a privilege to be invited to learn from our distinguished panel of speakers about the large and growing leadership role Taiwan plays in promoting development in Latin America and the Caribbean. I would like to share a little bit about the way we view Taiwan as a democratic development partner of choice for the region.
Taiwan is a shining example of development. It went from receiving U.S. development assistance in the 1950s and 1960s, to becoming a prosperous economy that is now able to offer development assistance to others.
Today, Taiwan—an island with a population of 23 million people—is the United States’ eleventh-largest trading partner and eighth-largest market for U.S. agricultural goods. The United States is Taiwan’s second-largest trading partner.
Taiwan has made significant contributions to addressing global and regional challenges, and the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan has deepened, rooted in our shared democratic values.
Launched in 2015, the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) is a joint U.S.-Taiwan initiative that is a platform for expanding cooperation in several critical areas, from public health and women’s empowerment to law enforcement and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The United States is pleased to collaborate with Taiwan to support the development aspirations of our partners in the Americas. This past May, Taiwan and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) worked together to support Paraguay-based Banco Regional’s efforts to provide lending services to small- and medium-sized enterprises, especially those that are women-owned.
In international organizations where the United States and Taiwan are both members, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and World Trade Organization (WTO), we look for new opportunities to strengthen our cooperation on issues of mutual interest. The United States welcomes this same cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean.
As a society that celebrates freedom of speech and of the press, Taiwan is particularly well positioned to help Latin American governments grapple with the challenge of protecting freedom of information while enhancing their infrastructure for information and communications technology. I look forward to hearing Secretary General Hsiang’s thoughts on how Taiwan can partner with governments in this region to strengthen their technology safeguards.
The nations of the Americas have made great strides to counter corruption, which is the Achilles heel of our Hemisphere of Freedom. Taiwan also has much to contribute to Latin American and Caribbean legislators to help parliaments codify transparency as an essential inoculation against bad deals and graft.
The United States remains committed to the U.S. One-China Policy, the Three Joint Communiques, and our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act, and we oppose unilateral changes to the status quo. This has enabled us to maintain the full range of interactions with Taiwan, including visits, trade negotiations, and education and cultural exchanges.
Taiwan is a reliable partner, a democratic role model, and a force for good in the world and here in our region. It adheres to international standards on development, infrastructure investments, labor, environment, and human rights. The United States will continue to support Taiwan, especially as it seeks to expand its already significant contributions to addressing global challenges.
I will close here and look forward to hearing from the speakers and panelists. Thank you.