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The signing of the economic cooperation framework agreement with China was a major leap forward for Taiwan. However, as the authors of the just-released AEI report “Taiwan, Inc.: A home for global business” argued on Thursday, the agreement is only the first step toward making Taiwan a more active commercial hub in Asia. The authors argued that Taiwan must make a series of domestic reforms and capitalize on its comparative advantages to transform the country into a more attractive place to do business.
AEI’s Paul Wolfowitz framed the discussion by describing Taiwan’s unique political situation and its associated challenges. Report co-authors Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation and Dan Blumenthal of AEI laid out a vision for a stronger and more secure Taiwan that can compete with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo to become a major commercial hub in Asia.
Scissors, Blumenthal, and Rupert Hammond-Chambers of the US-Taiwan Business Council emphasized the need for Taiwan to be proactive rather than reactive in embarking on reforms. In a marked break from the authors of the report, Mignonne Chan of the Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center suggested that Taiwan must pursue stable and secure growth rather than rapid unilateral liberalization.
Overall, the panelists’ differing viewpoints highlight that despite the common hope for Taiwan’s economic and international success, there is disagreement on the best path to achieving that success.
-- Lara Crouch and Samuel Eckstein
Taiwan punches well above its weight in the global economy. With only 23 million people, it is the 23rd largest economy in the world. And it is attempting to expand its external trade, having signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China in 2010.
Even so, Taiwan has yet to undertake crucial domestic reforms in the areas of regulation, finance, labor, and education that could launch its rise as a commercial hub in the Asian region. Following opening remarks by Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz, three co-authors of the forthcoming AEI report “Taiwan, Inc.: A Home for Global Business” — Dan Blumenthal, Derek Scissors, and Gary Schmitt — will delve into the major findings of their report. Two discussants will then offer their own perspectives on the major needs of Taiwan’s economy.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Dan Blumenthal, AEI
Paul Wolfowitz, AEI
Question and Answer Session
Dan Blumenthal, AEI
Mignonne Chan, Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center
Rupert Hammond-Chambers, US-Taiwan Business Council
Derek Scissors, Heritage Foundation
Gary J. Schmitt, AEI
Question and Answer Session
For more information, please contact Lara Crouch at [email protected], 202.862.7160.
For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.
Dan Blumenthal is the director of Asian Studies at AEI, where he focuses on East Asian security issues and Sino-American relations. He recently became a research associate at the National Asia Research Program, a joint undertaking of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He has served on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission since 2005, including as vice chairman in 2007, and has been a member of the academic advisory board for the congressional US-China Working Group. During George W. Bush's first administration, Blumenthal was the senior director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia in the secretary of defense’s Office of International Security Affairs. He has written articles and op-eds for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, National Review, and numerous edited volumes. Blumenthal is the co-author of “An Awkward Embrace: The United States and China in the 21st Century” (AEI Press, November 2012).
Mignonne Chan is currently executive director of the Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Study Center and a visiting professor at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. In addition, she serves as senior lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute and is a board member and group leader of the Global Business Unit at the Prospect Foundation and group leader on global security at the MacArthur Center for Security Studies. Chan served President Ma Ying Chiou as senior adviser of Taiwan’s National Security Council between May 2008 and May 2010. She was recruited and appointed director general of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) International Secretariat from July 1999 to December 2001. Before her PECC appointment, she served as director of research and analysis at the APEC Secretariat in Singapore (August 1996 to June 1999); she was director and research associate of the International Affairs Division at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research for six years, followed by a professorship at the Yu Da College of Business. She has also served as a consultative member for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs. Chan has served as a consultant for a US-Taiwan patent negotiation in the computer-electronic industry, a US-China joint venture in the footwear industry, a US-China material sourcing for the metallurgical industry, an Italy-China technology transfer in the apparel industry, a Japanese strategic marketing effort in the hospitality industry, and a Taiwanese concern in the health care industry.
Rupert Hammond-Chambers was born and raised in Scotland before emigrating to the US in 1987. In 1991, he worked for the Advanced Telecommunication Corporation, managing a variety of clients with business interests in the Caribbean and Latin America. In April 1993, he joined the Center for Security Policy, a defense and foreign policy think tank in Washington, DC, as the associate for development. The center accomplishes its goals by stimulating and informing national and international policy debates, particularly those involving regional, defense, economic, financial, and technology developments that affect US security. Hammond-Chambers began working for the US-Taiwan Business Council in October 1994. In March of 1998, he was promoted to vice president of the council with additional responsibilities for office management, staff oversight, financial bookkeeping, and a clear mandate to build out the council’s member and client base. Hammond-Chambers was elected president of the council in November 2000. As the trade relationship between the US, Taiwan, and China continues to evolve, he has worked to develop the council's role as a strategic partner to its members, with the continuing goal of positioning the council as a leader in empowering American companies in Asia through value and excellence. Hammond-Chambers is also the managing director for Taiwan at BowerGroupAsia. He sits on the advisory boards of Redwood Partners International, the Sabatier Group, and the Pacific Star Fund. He is a trustee of Fettes College, and is a member of both the National Committee on US-China Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gary J. Schmitt is co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies and director of the Program on American Citizenship at AEI. Schmitt is a former staff director of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. During former president Ronald Reagan’s second term, he was the executive director of the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Schmitt's work focuses on long-term US strategic security issues both in the domestic and international spheres. He has been a contributing author and co-editor of a variety of books, including “Safety, Liberty, and Islamist Terrorism: American and European Approaches to Domestic Counterterrorism” (AEI Press, 2010), “The Rise of China: Essays on the Future Competition” (Encounter Books, 2009), and “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (AEI Press, 2007). He has also co-authored the book “Silent Warfare: Understanding the World of Intelligence” (Brassey’s, 2002) with Abram Shulsky.
Derek Scissors focuses his studies on the economies of China and India as senior research fellow for economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center. Scissors also analyzes and comments on broader economic trends in Asia, as well as related challenges facing the US. He has testified multiple times before both houses of Congress on topics such as rare earth elements, green energy, trade barriers, and exchange rate disputes between the US and China. Scissors’s analysis and commentary have appeared in Foreign Affairs, National Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal’s Asia edition, and Indian news outlets such as The Hindu. Scissors and his work have also been featured in The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Economic Times of India, and by news agencies such as the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Reuters, and Xinhua. Television audiences know Scissors as a guest commentator on Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox and Fox Business, MSNBC, and China’s CCTV, among other major cable and broadcast outlets. His appearances on radio include Fox Radio, National Public Radio, and Public Radio International. Scissors is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where he teaches a course on the Chinese economy. Before joining Heritage in August 2008, Scissors was China economist at Intelligence Research, a global consulting firm. He wrote its China Weekly Bulletin, China Watch, and China Quarterly Forecast, and counseled clients — primarily Fortune 500 executives — concerning their China operations.
Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz is currently a visiting scholar at AEI. He has spent more than three decades as a public servant and educator, including 24 years in US government service under seven US presidents, four years as US deputy secretary of defense, and two years as president of the World Bank. He has also served as under secretary of defense for policy and assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. As ambassador to Indonesia, Wolfowitz became known for his advocacy of reform and political openness and for his interest in development issues, which dates back to his doctoral dissertation on water desalination in the Middle East. He has taught at Yale and Johns Hopkins University, and was dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Ambassador Wolfowitz is also chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council and serves on the advisory boards of the Clinton Global Initiative, ING Americas, and Brevan-Howard LLP.