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Michigan Governor Whitmer arrives in Taiwan to open state office

03/04/2024 03:01 PM
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Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (center) speaks at a news conference in Taipei Monday. CNA photo March 4, 2024
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (center) speaks at a news conference in Taipei Monday. CNA photo March 4, 2024

Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer arrived in Taipei on Monday for a two-day visit, during which she will open an office to facilitate exchanges between the American state and Taiwan in areas such as commerce, culture and education.

The opening of the Michigan Taiwan Office "is truly an extension of a partnership that has been built over the years between Taiwan and United States," Whitmer told reporters at a press conference in Taipei.

The State of Michigan is world renowned for its manufacturing heritage and is a pillar of the American economy, said Whitmer, a member of the Democratic Party who has been serving as governor of the state since 2019.

Given Taiwan's world leading expertise in the fields of semiconductors and clean energy, it is a perfect match for cooperation in those areas with the Michigan State government, which is currently pursuing clean energy by means such as a transition to electric vehicles, she said.

The U.S. is now making "long overdue investments" in advancing its supply chains and strengthening American manufacturing, "and learning from and working with Taiwanese companies is crucial for our success," Whitmer said.

The opening of the Michigan office in Taiwan is aimed at building not only bilateral commercial ties, but also facilitating opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges, according to a member of Whitmer's delegation, who also spoke at the press conference.

"And we're excited about that. And that's why the governor has pushed to make sure that we in Michigan develop deeper ties with the people here in Taiwan," said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Michigan Taiwan Office, which will be formally opened Monday night, will start with a staff of three, according to Messer.

Whitmer, who last visited Taiwan briefly in September 2023, said in response to reporters' questions that she is visiting again six months later because she wants to have more "thoughtful, longer term conversations" with Taiwanese businesses, as her state is about to open an office in Taipei.

"I'm glad to be back, and I would anticipate that there could yet be another trip back to Taiwan, because I do think this is a crucial economic and democratic partnership that we need to foster," she said.

During her current two-day visit, the governor is also scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President and President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) to discuss matters relating to economic, trade and technological exchanges, according to Taiwan's Presidential Office.

Whitmer and her delegation will depart Tuesday for South Korea, continuing on their business trip to Asia.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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