Accomplishments in 2017 highlight value of Taiwan's APEC engagement

I. Background

Delegations from Taiwan took part in two major Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gatherings in Da Nang, Vietnam this year: the APEC Ministerial Meeting and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Delegates advocated Taiwan’s positions and highlighted the nation’s contributions on this year’s priority APEC topics, as well as shared Taiwan’s experiences and accomplishments, taking the opportunity to engage in bilateral discussions and exchanges with many other member economies.


II. Taiwan’s participation in two major APEC meetings yields many achievements

APEC’s theme for 2017 is “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future.” Under the main theme were four priority topics: promoting sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; deepening regional economic integration; strengthening the competitiveness and innovation of micro, small and medium enterprises in the digital age; and enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change.

A. Annual APEC Ministerial Meeting

Minister Chen Mei-ling of the National Development Council and Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin led Taiwan’s delegation to the Annual APEC Ministerial Meeting on November 8 and 9, and expressed the following outlooks and recommendations during the event:

1. Economic and trade cooperation together with regional economic integration: Taiwan communicated its expectation to fully participate in regional economic integration, and emphasized that all member economies should pursue the widest possible degree of free trade in order to achieve the common objective of mutual benefits and shared success. Furthermore, whether in bilateral talks or multilateral regional negotiations, Taiwan advanced the position that no willing partner should be excluded.

2. Entrepreneurship and innovation: Taiwan stressed the importance of innovation, employment and equitable distribution as a new model for economic development in the Asia-Pacific region that will lead to a future of shared prosperity.

3. Technical training: Taiwan proposed the APEC Skills Development Capacity Building Alliance in 2015, and has since established the APEC Skills Development Capacity Building Institute in Taiwan. In the first year alone, this international training campus hosted trainees from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

4. Women’s participation in the economy: Taiwan’s delegation highlighted its APEC Gendered Innovation for Technology and Science (GIFTS) program. Taiwan also joined the United States and Australia to establish the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-fund to help expand even more women’s participation in economic activity.

5. Climate change and global food security: In 2013, Taiwan put forward the multi-year program, Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain, and in 2018 will convene in Taiwan a high-level policy dialogue on reducing food losses and waste with next year’s APEC host economy Papua New Guinea.

6. Support for the World Trade Organization (WTO): Taiwan anticipates substantial achievements coming out of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, and called on the WTO to proactively address industry needs in light of the development of digital technology, especially on issues beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as the growth of the digital tech industry.

7. Contribution of Taiwan’s experience with assisting small and medium-sized enterprises: Over the past 15 years Taiwan has advanced many proposals aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, including both the APEC Digital Opportunity Center and the APEC Online-to-Offline Initiative.

B. APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting

Demonstrating Taiwan’s determination to participate in regional economic integration, Taiwan’s APEC envoy James Soong took part in the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting from November 10 to 11, where he shared the nation’s experience with economic development, and achieved an admirable record of accomplishments:

1. The content of many of Taiwan’s proposals was adopted into the Economic Leaders’ Da Nang Declaration. A total of nine sections—including the declaration’s positions on innovation and entrepreneurship, energy, women and the economy, disaster mitigation, small and medium-sized enterprises, and food security—are closely related to Taiwan’s contributions and proposals, demonstrating the importance of the nation’s contributions within the APEC framework.

2. Substantive bilateral cooperation was achieved through APEC participation. Mr. Soong, together with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon of the United States and Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Karen Lanyon, made a joint announcement of the establishment of the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-fund.

3. The event provided Taiwan with ample opportunity for interaction and exchanges with other economic leaders. Mr. Soong engaged in bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore and Under Secretary Shannon of the U.S., as well as met on the sidelines for conversations with President Donald Trump of the U.S. and many economic leaders from Southeast Asia, among others.

4. International publicity at the meeting boosted Taiwan’s national image. Mr. Soong sat for two important interviews with Russia’s Sputnik news service and the APEC Secretariat, as well as held two international press conferences.


III. Conclusion

Taiwan has made many valuable contributions through participation in APEC over the years, and in return received considerable recognition and support from other member economies. In the future, the government will continue to take the initiative and play an active role in such international events, sharing the nation’s successful experiences and making substantive contributions as a means of giving back to the international community and raising Taiwan’s profile on the global stage.