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Welcome remarks by Deputy Minister Harry Ho-jen Tseng at the 36th Pacific Economic Community Seminar-Economic Transformation and the Future of Work in the Asia-Pacific after the Pandemic

  • Data Source:Department of International Organizations
  • Date:2021-10-16

Harry Ho-jen Tseng
 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs 
 Republic of China (Taiwan) 
 October 16, 2021
(As Delivered)

Distinguished participants,
Ladies and gentlemen:

Greetings to you all and good morning to those who are present!


It is my great pleasure to welcome all of you in my capacity as Vice Chairman of the Chinese Taipei Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (CTPECC). I would like to thank those who made today's event possible, and thank you for joining this seminar, in person or online. Your discussions on the subject – economic transformation and the future of work in the Asia-Pacific after the Pandemic – is indeed most important and timely. And I am privileged to offer a perspective from Taiwan.


In the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc and brought in major changes on the world. As you may agree, one of the main lessons we have learned from the pandemic is the risk of overdependence on a single market with regard to global supply chains for critical industries. Last year, especially in the first half of 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 had exposed the risk of overreliance on a single country or supplier for critical materials such as medical supplies, PPEs or pharmaceuticals. 


In the case of Taiwan, by the end of January 2020, the supply of surgical masks was only able to produce some 1.8 million pieces per day, far lower than demand. But under the tremendous efforts and time pressure, 29 domestic companies quickly worked together to build 92 new mask production lines within 40 days, which normally takes 6 months. In April 2020 we were already able to give 10 million masks abroad to different countries that are in need. And by the end of May we were able to produce as many as 20 million pieces of mask per day, far exceeding our domestic demand.


As the pandemic lingered on to the 2nd half of 2020, the severe shortage of auto chips was felt intensely in the automobile industry and the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), among others, was urgently approached by several foreign governments to offer its remedy. Although the supply chain disruptions in the 1st and 2nd half of 2020 occurred out of different reasons and had different impacts, it served as an alarm bell to the world that it is necessary and urgent to restructure the global supply chains. 


Consequently, more countries are taking concrete actions to diversify their sources of supply or shorten their supply chains by bringing them closer to customers. And it is increasingly getting better known that when it comes to global supply chains, Taiwan is a reliable, indispensable, a resilient partner. Many countries are now aware of the dangers and are advocating for more resilient global supply chains. It is widely recognized that Taiwan's top-ranked semiconductor and high-tech industries are geopolitically important. And as a reliable and trustworthy partner in the community of the like-minded countries, Taiwan will be happy to help enhance the resilience of global supply chains.


Four days ago at the 110th anniversary of our National Day, President Tsai Ing-Wen pointed out in her speech that, as the pandemic continued to affect us in many ways, the global political landscape is also undergoing drastic change at the same time. Like others, Taiwan finds itself in a situation that is more complex and fluid than anytime in the past. And it is more important than ever that we like-minded countries come together to work hand in hand to brace for the future that is filled with uncertainties.


The Pacific Economic Cooperation Council is a useful platform for sharing experiences and best practices in the Asia Pacific. I am sure today's event is a great opportunity for us to learn from each other.


Let me also express my gratitude for Thailand's participation in this seminar. We are eager to learn about your vision and priorities for hosting APEC 2022. I wish today's event a great success and I wish everyone good health and continued prosperity. Thank you!