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TSMC founder Morris Chang tapped to represent Taiwan at virtual APEC summit

Tech guru tasked with making case for Taiwan's CPTPP bid during meetings with APEC leaders

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TSMC founder Morris Chang (YouTube, Presidential Office screengrab)

TSMC founder Morris Chang (YouTube, Presidential Office screengrab)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Morris Chang (張忠謀), the 90-year-old founder of chip giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), will once again represent Taiwan at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced Tuesday (Nov. 2).

New Zealand is the host country this year. The second gathering of APEC leaders of 2021 will be a week-long series of virtual meetings and events, including the APEC Ministerial Meeting from Nov. 8-9, CEO Summit on Nov. 11 and 12, and APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Nov. 12. Chang is attending the latter on behalf of Tsai.

At Tuesday's press conference, Tsai said she hopes the retired chairman can pitch Taiwan's bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) among participating CPTPP members during the meeting. Taiwan formally applied to join the free-trade group on Sept. 22.

The tech guru said he regrets that the upcoming meetings will be held virtually again, saying it will not be easy to engage with other participants and push for the country's CPTPP bid during the short breaks between the virtual meetings.

Chang expressed hope that international business travel can be resumed and borders reopened very soon in order to boost economies. "To reach that point, vaccination plays a critical role and more efforts are needed," he said.

Chang previously represented the president and country at APEC summits in 2006, 2018, 2019, and 2020. Because of obstruction by China, presidents of Taiwan have never been able to attend the annual summit.

"As the pandemic continues to spread around the world, leaders should leverage various digital tools to effectively contain the pandemic, and Taiwan is willing to help with its digital strengths," Tsai stated.

The Economic Leaders' Meeting will coincide with the APEC CEO Summit, which will be attended by top executives of the world's tech giants. Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm is set to deliver a speech on renewable energy and transport disruption at the summit.