Gov. Gianforte meets with President Tsai of Taiwan in 2023. (Provided by the Governor’s Office.)
Gov. Greg Gianforte met Tuesday with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan to strengthen Montana’s relationship with its longstanding partner and ally, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.
“Montana and Taiwan share nearly four decades of history as trading partners and friends, built on our common values of individual liberty, innovation, and free enterprise,” Gov. Gianforte said in a statement. “It was an honor to meet with President Tsai this morning to convey our appreciation for this longstanding partnership and our optimism for the future.”
Last year, Taiwan purchased more than $107 million in goods from Montana, according to the Governor’s Office.
President Tsai hosted Gov. Gianforte at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei for the meeting.
“I would like to begin by welcoming Governor Gianforte as he leads this economic and trade delegation,” President Tsai said in a statement provided by the Governor’s Office.
“On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I extend our sincere gratitude to him for making Taiwan the first stop of his trip. I am also grateful to Governor Gianforte for reopening the State of Montana Asia Trade Office-Taiwan after taking office in 2021 to continue strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation through concrete action.”
President Tsai continued, “Since taking office, Governor Gianforte has also been keen to promote tax incentive and deregulation legislation. This has created more job opportunities and enhanced the investment climate.”
During the meeting, the governor and president reflected on Montana and Taiwan’s sister-state relationship and discussed opportunities for economic collaboration.
On Sunday evening, the governor attended a welcome dinner for members of the delegation hosted by the Montana Grain Growers Association. Wheat represents Montana’s largest and most consistent export to Taiwan, totaling $32 million in sales last year, according to the Governor’s Office.
Taiwan is also an important market for Montana cattle producers, with $16 million of Montana beef exported to Taiwan last year, the Governor’s Office said.
Below is a transcript of President Tsai’s remarks, translated, as provided by the Governor’s Office:
I would like to begin by welcoming Governor Gianforte as he leads this economic and trade delegation. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I extend our sincere gratitude to him for making Taiwan the first stop of his trip. I am also grateful to Governor Gianforte for reopening the State of Montana Asia Trade Office-Taiwan after taking office in 2021 to continue strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation through concrete action.
Taiwan and Montana have long enjoyed close cooperation in agriculture and tourism. Large numbers of Taiwanese tourists visit such famous attractions as Yellowstone National Park, and agricultural goods from Montana such as beef and wheat are very popular among domestic consumers.
Montana also boasts key U.S. industry clusters in the photonics, optoelectronics, and optics sectors, and is actively developing its biotechnology, cloud computing, and aerospace industries. Since taking office, Governor Gianforte has also been keen to promote tax incentive and deregulation legislation. This has created more job opportunities and enhanced the investment climate.
Taiwan is Montana’s seventh-largest trade partner. As the bilateral trade environment becomes even more favorable, Taiwan and Montana can continue to deepen partnerships in such key industries as photonics, optoelectronics, optics, and semiconductors to foster mutually beneficial development.
Taiwan and Montana also share the values of freedom and democracy. I want to thank Governor Gianforte, as well as the Montana Senate and House of Representatives, for passing Taiwan-friendly resolutions supporting our international participation. Taiwan will deepen collaboration with even more like-minded democratic partners to jointly address global challenges.
This delegation led by Governor Gianforte is a key step toward bolstering bilateral relations. We anticipate that, through the efforts of both sides, Taiwan and Montana will enjoy even broader and more far-reaching exchanges going forward.
And below is a transcript of Governor Gianforte’s remarks, provided by the Governor’s Office:
President Tsai, thank you for taking the time to meet with us. It’s an honor to be in Taiwan with you today. Beginning in 1985, with the signing of our sister-state relationship, Montana has shared a strong bond with Taiwan. This bond has been forged through trade and educational exchanges and our shared values of freedom and free enterprise.
As you mentioned, our legislature in Montana reinforces this bond every two years with a joint resolution in support of Taiwan. In honoring that partnership, I proudly reopened the Montana Asian trade office in the heart of Taipei during my first year in office, ushering in new opportunities for the people of Taiwan and Montana. And now two years later, it’s only fitting that I lead my first international trade mission as governor to this great country.
Montana is best known around the world for our beautiful vistas and wide-open spaces. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks are both right in our backyard and we see millions of visitors every year. While our wide-open spaces are admired for their beauty, they also create excellent conditions for growing wheat and raising beef. Just a four-hour drive, north of Yellowstone National Park sits Montana’s Golden Triangle. There, our farmers seed more than two million acres of wheat each year. Hot days and cool nights in the summer make for some of the finest wheat in the world. Earlier this year, we were honored to host a delegation of flour millers in Montana to showcase where and how we grow these crops.
While agriculture surely remains the bedrock of our trade relationship with Taiwan, we’re also seeing rapid growth in other industries like education, bioscience, and photonics.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education have been funding two programs within the state of Montana. One, housed at the University of Montana within the Mansfield Center, will begin early next year and is dedicated to growing the Mandarin program for both high school and college students in Montana.
The second, at Montana Tech and Minghsin University of Science and Technology, will focus on short-term exchanges related to international business – particularly as it relates to the semiconductor workforce. Globally, it’s expected that education will be a $7 trillion industry by 2025. Montana would like to be part of this, and our universities have set forth a serious agenda to create more connections internationally.
Montana ranks sixth nationally among states for bioscience industry growth over the last five years and fifth in the United States for growth in research and development. This means our bioscience industry is expanding and we’re at the tip of the spear for cutting-edge research.
Montana also has one of the highest per capita concentrations of optics, photonics, and quantum computing companies in the United States. The 21st century will depend on photonics as much as the 20th century depended on electronics. Globally the photonics industry is expected to grow from $1.5 trillion to nearly $2 trillion by 2025. It is imperative that we’ve worked to build this industry for our state, and Taiwan is a key partner in this.
During our visit here to Taipei, we will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Taiwan-USA Industrial Cooperation Promotion Office and the Taiwan Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association to continue discussions and relationships begun by our state office.
I speak on behalf of our entire delegation, Madam President, when I say I’m filled with optimism. Optimism about the future of Montana and Taiwan, and excited about the possible extensions of our partnership. Again, on behalf of the first lady and myself, thank you for hosting us today.
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