R.C. Wu, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Atlanta, celebrated the 94th annual National Day of Taiwan on Oct. 5, highlighting the importance of economic ties between his country and the Southeast United States.
“Trade between Taiwan and the Southeast is mutually complimentary,” Mr. Wu said during the reception commemorating the 94th anniversary of the founding of Taiwan, or Republic of China, in 1912.
He said that Taiwan imports at least $250 million in goods from each of six southeastern states, including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. In 2004, Georgia exported $300 million in transportation equipment, chemicals, computers and electronics, minerals and paper to Taiwan, representing an increase of 20 percent from the previous year, he added. Taiwan is Georgia’s 15th largest export market, and there are 15 Taiwanese investment companies in Georgia, Mr. Wu said.
“We hope for continued increase in this exchange for the betterment of both economies,” Mr. Wu said, explaining that constitutional reforms have contributed to this trade and to Taiwan’s expanding role in the global economy.
Between 1991 and 2000, six amendments were made to Taiwan’s constitution, which was put into force in mainland China in 1947 before the Taiwanese government moved to the island of Taiwan in 1949. The amendments served to improve governmental efficiency and competitiveness, Mr. Wu said.
In August 2004, the incumbent government proposed an additional constitutional amendment in the Legislative Yuan, and in May of this year, representatives of the Taiwanese National Assembly held elections and approved the amendment. This seventh amendment includes reducing by half the number of seats in the legislature and reforming the electoral system. It also decides the threshold for constitutional amendments in the legislature and requires holding referendums for future constitutional amendments.
These reforms allow Taiwan to play “an indispensable role in the global economy and trade,” Mr. Wu said during the reception at the Capital City Club downtown.
Taiwan’s importance as an economic power in Asia was cited by the 2004-05 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, in which Taiwan ranked fourth out of 104 economies around the world, he said, adding that Taiwan was No. 1 in Asia on the forum’s Growth Competitiveness Index.
Mr. Wu also said that a May 15 issue of Business Week magazine named Taiwan as the top producer of notebook personal computers, with 72 percent, $22 billion, of the global market share. It also ranked Taiwan as the top producer of monitors, cable modems, semi-conductor packaging and personal data assistants (PDAs).
Even as Taiwan enjoys success in the global economy and a democratic political system since the 2000 elections, Mr. Wu said that China poses a military threat to Taiwan. With 40,000 Taiwanese investors and $100 billion in capital investments in China, Mr. Wu said he hopes China will learn to treat Taiwan as a “constructive brother country.”
He urged the international community to support Taiwan’s desire for continued autonomy from China and called for the inclusion of Taiwan’s 23 million people in the international community.
Mr. Wu added that Taiwan is grateful to the United States for the economic assistance it provided from 1955-65, which was a key factor in Taiwan’s economic development.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta promotes trade between Taiwan and six southeastern states. Contact the Taipei office at (404) 897-9996 for more information.