June 15: Taiwan’s Economic Security: The Role of Transnational Private Partnerships

June 15: Taiwan’s Economic Security: The Role of Transnational Private Partnerships

Thursday, June 15, 2023 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (ET)

In-Person (RSVP here) and Webcast

Event Description:

The Global Taiwan Institute (GTI) is pleased to invite you to a seminar discussion on “Taiwan’s Economic Security: The Role of Transnational Private Partnerships.”

Despite operating in an open and business-friendly economic system, Taiwan’s private enterprises are heavily impacted by cross-Strait security risks, national government policies, investor confidence, and interdependence within the global economy. As more Taiwanese businesses are shifting their focus from China to other regions—and as concerns are rising that Taiwan’s powerful semiconductor industry, a pillar industry for the island’s economy and security, is simultaneously being hollowed out—it has become increasingly crucial to determine the implications of the increased internationalization Taiwan’s economy, as well as the broader impacts for Taiwan’s trading partners and the island’s own economic security. What geopolitical factors are concerns for Taiwan’s transnational private enterprises? How does the economic security of Taiwan’s private sector play into its national security? What is the Taiwan government doing to address these challenges?

This seminar will include a discussion of the present challenges facing Taiwan’s private sector and Taiwanese businesses seeking to expand their international presence, as well as how entrepreneurs can be supported in these endeavors. 

Panelists will include: David Chang (Crossroads), Rupert Hammond-Chambers (US-Taiwan Business Council), and Catherine Tai (Center for International Private Enterprise). The event will be moderated by GTI Program Associate Zoë Weaver-Lee. This event is organized by the Global Taiwan Institute and supported in part by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

Doors will open at 12:30 PM, and the event will begin at 1:00 PM. If you plan on attending in-person, please RSVP by June 15, as seating is limited. Light refreshments will be provided. Please direct questions or concerns to Program Associate Zoë Weaver-Lee at zweaver@globaltaiwan.org.

**Media: Please contact Marshall Reid at mreid@globaltaiwan.org if you would like to bring additional crew members or equipment, so that we can be sure to accommodate you.

COVID Procedures: Proof of vaccination will be required at check in. Attendees unable to provide documentation will be required to wear a mask. Masks are optional for vaccinated individuals who are able to provide proof of vaccination. 

The Speakers:

David Chang is the founder and secretary-general of Crossroads, an NGO in Taiwan that provides education, networking opportunities, and consulting to Taiwanese entrepreneurs looking to expand their business abroad, as well as international companies looking to set up shop in Taiwan. Chang is also the CEO and founder of Wordcorp, an online translation platform. Prior to his work at Wordcorp and Crossroads, David worked as a branch director for America Works of New Jersey, a Legislative Aid for New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, and a senior paralegal for Gilbert and Sackman. Having once described communication as “the Achilles’ heel of Taiwan,” Chang uses his positions to improve Taiwan’s connection with the international community through translation and business. He graduated with a bachelor of arts from UC Santa Barbara.

Rupert Hammond-Chambers is the president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, where he was elected vice president in 1998 and president in 2000. Prior to 1994, he served as an associate for development at the Center for Security Policy, a defense and foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC. He also serves as a managing director at BowerGroup Asia. Hammond-Chambers is an expert on Taiwanese political and economic issues, with a special focus on defense and security. He is also a member of the board of The Project 2049 Institute, a trustee of Fettes College, and a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations. He holds a BA from Denison University.

Catherine Tai is the deputy director for Asia of the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). She is responsible for overall program management, performance reporting, donor communication and partnership management throughout Southeast Asia. Tai’s portfolio of projects focuses on partnering with business associations to strengthen the role of the private sector and mobilize local networks of small and medium enterprises for constructive policy reform. Previously, Tai was the senior program officer for East Asia at the Eurasia Foundation, where she provided technical assistance to civil society groups and designed new initiatives with local partners. She has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland – College Park and a BA in diplomacy from National Chengchi University.

The Moderator:

Zoë Weaver-Lee is a program associate at the Global Taiwan Institute. She graduated from Stetson University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Development and minors in Political Science and Asian Studies. During her time at Stetson, she spent two semesters in South Korea and Taiwan, after which she was awarded the Maris Prize for Undergraduate Research for her study regarding Taiwanese democratic development. After her graduation, Zoë received the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship to study Mandarin in Taipei. At GTI, her research focuses on geoeconomics, economic coercion, and Taiwan’s foreign assistance programs.

Event Summary:

On June 15, 2023, the Global Taiwan Institute held a panel discussion titled “Taiwan’s Economic Security: The Role of Transnational Private Enterprises,” featuring Founder and Secretary-General of Crossroads David Chang, Deputy Director for Asia at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) Catherine Tai, and President of the US-Taiwan Business Council (USTBC) Rupert Hammond-Chambers. The discussion was moderated by GTI Program Associate Zoë Weaver-Lee. With China’s implementation of coercive economic measures and the apparent effects of cross-Strait tension on private enterprises, the panel discussion focused on the role of transnational private enterprises in Taiwan’s national and economic security.

The seminar opened with remarks from Catherine Tai, who provided insight into CIPE’s analysis of economic security in light of the PRC’s economic coercion. As Taiwan attempts to mitigate these risks, Tai emphasized the importance of diversification of the export consumer base and supply chain, as Taiwan’s overreliance on China has led to serious vulnerabilities. On the national level, the New Southbound Policy (NSP) and reshoring efforts are essential avenues that the government can expand on to develop a more secure economy. On the private level, Tai explained that businesses should maintain their existing presence and diversify the supply chain while simultaneously incorporating geopolitical risk analysis into their regular functions. Tai expressed how Taiwan has drafted the necessary policies but lacks crucial execution and implementation practices that can be learned from Japan.

Next, Rupert Hammond-Chambers emphasized the importance of globalization in Taiwan’s economic and political security—notably, the importance of globalization as a means of deterring China’s aggression and easing anxiety in Taiwan. Hammond-Chambers expressed the need for a collective response from the United States and other Western countries in engaging with Taiwan economically and politically. Engagement with Taiwan can be achieved through trade policies and international organizations, like the “Chip 4” Alliance, to provide Taiwan with the platform to voice its concerns and increase its participation. Furthermore, private firm interactions with Taiwan can aid in the development of trust and confidence, as exemplified by Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s (黃仁勳) visit to Taiwan. Hammond-Chambers highlighted the significance and the strength of US-Taiwan relations and, more importantly, the implicit trust between them. Although there is more to be done, Hammond-Chambers finished by arguing that this foundation of trust can help facilitate mutual support and future engagement on a government and private level.

Lastly, David Chang shed light on the issues within the relationship between the Taiwanese government and Taiwan’s immigrant population. Currently, Taiwan is in need of more migrant workers as its population ages, which affects its national security and creates a talent shortage. Although Taiwan had a large influx of immigrants during the COVID-19 pandemic through its Gold Card Program, the lack of opportunities and resources within the work environment has created challenges in retaining and integrating talent. Chang highlighted the challenges foreigners face in accessing banking and education resources as significant factors preventing entrepreneurs from starting businesses in Taiwan. Chang closed his remarks by calling on the government to work to bridge the gaps in the population to create a more accessible and more manageable environment for foreign workers and entrepreneurs.

This summary was written by GTI Summer 2023 Intern Eric Jung.

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