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Taiwan wishes to defend economic freedom with U.S.: President

2018/08/20 14:09:35

Houston, Aug. 19 (CNA) Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expressed hope that her country and the United States can work together to defend free market economy and protect business enterprises from unfair competition and political interference.

Tsai spelled out her expectation at a Taiwan-U.S. business forum in Houston Sunday, which was attended by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson from Texas.

Taiwan and the United States have both been sparing no effort to consolidate the free market, protect enterprises with fair competition and safeguard businesses from political interference, Tsai told the forum, describing the efforts as the foundation of economic development of the two countries.

She expressed hope that Taiwan can continue to defend the foundation along with the U.S. in the future.

The remarks came after China, which regards self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, beefed up its efforts to block Taiwan's presence on the international stage through demanding that international airlines and hotel groups change Taiwan's designation on their official websites.

Free market is defined as an unregulated system of economic exchange, in which taxes, quality controls, quotas, tariffs and other forms of centralized economic interventions by government either do not exist or are minimal.

Meanwhile at the forum, Edwards announced that Louisiana has signed an agreement with Taiwan on mutual recognition of drivers' licenses, making it the 27th U.S. state to have done so.

The forum was also attended by Taiwan's National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee (李大維), Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Deputy Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花).

Tsai arrived in Houston Saturday for a 27-hour stopover on her way back to Taiwan after concluding state visits to Belize and Paraguay, two of Taiwan's 18 diplomatic allies. She will return home on Monday local time.

Following the forum, Tsai visited the Texas Medical Center (TMC) Innovation Institute, at which she received briefings from TMC CEO and Executive Vice President Shawn Cloonan and Erik Halvorsen, head of the innovation center.

Through the visit to the world's largest medical complex, Tsai wanted to learn how an innovation industrial cluster can be formed and developed successfully, and will take the successful case of the TMC Innovation Institute back to Taiwan for reference, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) told the press.

The TMC launched a start-up fund in 2017 to invest in innovative start-up companies in the medical and biomedical sectors. So far, the TMC Innovation Institute has been joined by over 100 start-ups and has collected funds to the tune of more than US$140 million for more projects.

Tsai was scheduled to leave Houston Sunday evening and to arrive back in Taiwan at 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to Huang.

(By Sophia Yeh, Chiang Chin-yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)