Taiwan, US look to diversify supply chains away from China

AIT director calls on like-minded democracies to reduce reliance on China

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Shipping container vessel (Pixabay photo)

Shipping container vessel (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Officials from Taiwan, the U.S., Japan, and the EU are looking for “like-minded” democracies to shift supply chains away from China.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs, European Economic and Trade Office, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), along with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, co-organized a supply chain restructuring forum last Friday (Sept. 4) in Taipei, according to an AIT press release.

At the event, AIT Director Brent Christensen said everyone in the room was connected by their shared values, such as freedom of the press and religion, according to Reuters.

“These are the shared values that will inform how we reinvent the supply chains of the future,” Christensen said. “Helping economies, sectors, and companies build out secure supply chains will require a coordinated effort from all of us.”

The Taiwanese companies that built the global manufacturing base for hardware in China over the past 30 years have “increasingly recognized the danger of tying their future to the PRC (People’s Republic of China),” the AIT director said.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said the Taiwanese government was in talks with the semiconductor, medical, and energy industries over diversifying supply chains, according to the Financial Times. Reuters cited Wu as saying the pandemic had caused countries to wonder what would happen if their key industries were controlled by “another country that does not honor the values of rule of law, freedom, democracy, and transparency.”

“Going forward, we will work with like-minded partners to establish reciprocal industrial ties that lead to joint prosperity, instead of coercion, exploitation, and expansionism,” Wu added. “I see tremendous potential for closer cooperation between Taiwan and like-minded democracies, from Europe, Asia, and North America.”

TAITRA is also working with Japan to support companies from both countries in changing their partnerships from China to Southeast Asia, the Financial Times reported.

On Sept. 1, trade ministers from India, Japan, and Australia said there was an urgent need for regional cooperation on supply chain resilience and that they would launch an initiative later this year that would also be open to other countries.