The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Brunei Darussalam recently celebrated Taiwan’s National Day, marking the island’s 111 years of independence.
The auspicious occasion which falls annually on 10th October is dubbed Double Ten Day, took place at the Empire Hotel and was attended by distinguished guests from various government and private sectors in the sultanate.
Guests were seen enjoying the ambiance of Indera Samudera Grand Hall as it was decked with fresh orchids, a popular and admired flower in Taiwan as well as significant, as they are the top producer of orchids in the world.
Videos of Taiwan were played in the background to showcase the beauty of the island, popular destinations, activities and their achievements throughout the years.
In her welcoming speech, Ambassador of Taiwan to Brunei, Vanessa Y. P. Shih praised the government of Taiwan and Brunei for their successful efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Now our daily lives have almost returned to normal (and) we can happily get together to celebrate the National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
“We owe our thanks to the Brunei government for its successful anti-pandemic policy, as well as the hard work and dedication of the front-line medical staff,” added the ambassador.
Shih said the pandemic also placed Taiwan’s national unity and the character of their citizens to the test.
“(However) against the backdrop of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) downturn, Taiwan has been able to grow against the trend.”
The ambassador further lauded Taiwan for being one of the few countries in the world that effectively managed the pandemic while maintaining sustainable economic growth.
She shared that in 2021, Taiwan’s economic growth achieved its 11-year high reaching 6.5 per cent, along with a total trade volume of USD827 billion, placing the country as the world’s 16th largest trading partner.
“This year, the estimated economic growth will be 3.7 per cent. Foreign trade (has also) remained stable between January and August, (as) exports and imports increased 16 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively.”
She added that according to a forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Taiwan will regain its spot among the world’s 20 largest economies this year.
Furthermore, the 2022 World Competitiveness Yearbook released by the Institute for Management Development (IMD) shows that Taiwan is the seventh most competitive economy.
“In the post-pandemic era, strengthening the resilience of the supply chain has become even more important,” Shih said.
She further outlined that Taiwan, known as the “silicon island” is considered the global leader in semiconductor production.
“Taiwan also plays a pivotal role in responding to demand chips in areas such as solutions to smart cities, the development of green energy technology and the production of electronic vehicles.”
“Taiwan is an indispensable partner of the world’s digital transformation and response to climate changes,” said the ambassador.
Shih remarked directions taken by Taiwanese firms will shape the movement of global supply chains.
Giving examples, she stated Taiwan’s wafer foundry accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the world’s total production.
The island’s IC packaging and testing are also the world’s number one, along with 17 other industries ranked first in the world including ICT-related motherboards that accumulated 88 per cent of the world’s market share, while notebook computers are at 80 per cent, wireless local area networks (WLAN) at 70 per cent, golf club heads at 80 per cent, and functional textiles at 70 per cent.
“In addition, many Taiwanese companies and brands are considered the best in the world such as TSMC, Foxconn, ASUS, MediaTek, Largan, D-Link and Giant,” said the ambassador.
Shih also shared that 75 per cent of suppliers for Tesla, the electric vehicle, are Taiwanese companies while the motor, its core component, is also manufactured by Taiwan’s Fukuta Electric & Machinery Company.
“All these fully demonstrate that Taiwan plays an indispensable role in the resilience of global supply chains.”
“(Furthermore), the country’s high-tech capability and expertise in the semiconductor industry is what the world needs,” said Ambassador Shih, to restructure and establish secure, reliable and resilient global supply chains.
She added that Taiwan will continue working hard to strengthen the competitiveness of its industrial sector to maintain economic momentum in order to further contribute to the world.
The ambassador also emphasised the great importance of Taiwan’s relations with Brunei and the region under the New Southbound Policy (NSP).
“We would like to continue to strengthen economic collaboration, talent exchange, resource sharing and regional connectivity with countries in this region, including Brunei.”
The ambassador also shared that Taiwan is ranked the 2nd most Muslim-friendly country among the Non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries by the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2022.
“In September, my government extended for another year visa-free treatment to Brunei nationals as well as red IC holders to Taiwan for up to 14 days.”
“(This) visa-free treatment fully demonstrates Taiwan’s commitment to strengthening its relations with Brunei,” added the ambassador.
Taiwan also recently announced the reopening of its borders to international travellers on Thursday, 13 October 2022.
“We look forward to Royal Brunei Airlines resuming its direct flights to Taiwan soon, so that we can further promote tourism and enhance bilateral exchange and cooperation.”
“Looking into the future, we look forward to working more closely with all sectors of the society and the government of Brunei to further enhance bilateral relations between our two countries.”
Ambassador Shih said Taiwan is determined to defend its sovereignty and security while uniting with like-minded countries to defend their shared values while preserving peace and stability in the region and beyond.
“We will fight to safeguard freedom and democracy. We have every faith, that working together, freedom and democracy will prevail.”
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN