Texas Gov. Abbott Meets Taiwan President Lai During His East Asia Tour

Mr. Abbott opened a new Texas–Taiwan office in Taipei and signed an economic cooperation pact.
Texas Gov. Abbott Meets Taiwan President Lai During His East Asia Tour
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (L) meets with Taiwan President Lai Ching-te in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 7, 2024. (Office of the Texas Governor)
Frank Fang

TAIPEI, Taiwan—During the first stop of his East Asia tour, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott met with Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te and emphasized the importance of the partnership between Texas and Taiwan.

“The role that Taiwan plays on the global stage is so incredibly important for so many reasons,” Mr. Abbott said during his meeting with Mr. Lai in Taipei on July 7. “Trade is an obvious one. Semiconductor technology innovation is another one. But what you do also is so important for world peace and for democracy across the globe.”
Taiwan produces about 90 percent of the world’s most advanced semiconductors and roughly 65 percent of the world’s semiconductors, according to the U.S. Institute of Peace. As a result, Taiwan’s leadership position in global chip manufacturing has been dubbed the island’s “silicon shield” against a Chinese invasion. The communist regime in China sees Taiwan as a “renegade province” waiting to be “reunited” with the mainland, even though the self-ruled island is a de facto independent nation.
“I was honored to meet with President Lai Ching-te today to discuss strengthening the economic and cultural bond between Texas and Taiwan,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement about the meeting. “Both Texas and Taiwan have experienced miraculous economic growth in the last few decades, becoming pivotal economies for our regions and driving the future of innovation by providing economic freedom and opportunity for our people.

“I congratulate President Lai on his recent inauguration and look forward to working together to deepen our partnership as we build a stronger future for both Texas and Taiwan.”

Mr. Lai took office in May after his election victory in January. Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has ramped up pressure on the Lai administration, including launching two days of encircling Taiwan in what it called “punishment” military drills.
According to the Texas governor’s office, trade between Texas and Taiwan reached $21.3 billion in 2023, making the island the seventh-largest total trade partner with the Lone Star State.

Additionally, Taiwanese companies invested a total of $5.29 billion in eight foreign direct investment projects from 2013 to 2023, creating more than 2,200 jobs in Texas, according to the governor’s office. For the first five months of this year, Taiwanese firms have invested $103 million in two additional projects.

In 2022, Taiwan-based silicon wafer company GlobalWafers announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Sherman, Texas. According to the governor’s office, that project is expected to create 1,500 new jobs and generate billions of dollars of capital investment.
After meeting with the Taiwanese president, Mr. Abbott held a press event with Taiwan’s minister of economic affairs, Kuo Jyh-huei. During the event, Mr. Abbott and Mr. Kuo signed a statement of intent on economic cooperation, while the governor also announced the opening of a ​​State of Texas Taiwan Office. Texas is the 23rd U.S. state to open an office in Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s presidential office.
In a statement, Mr. Abbott said the new office and the agreement “will strengthen the economic and cultural relationship between Texas and Taiwan.” Meanwhile, the statement prioritizes bilateral cooperation in critical sectors, including semiconductor manufacturing, electric vehicles, and energy resilience.
“We understand, both in Texas and in the United States, the importance of a strong Taiwan for the future of the entire globe. One of the best things that we can do to strengthen Taiwan and strengthen its future is by expanding our economic ties so that Taiwan grows even stronger economically,” Mr. Abbott said at the press event.

“Texas strongly supports Taiwan, and we want to do everything that we can to assist it, work with it, collaborate with it, to ensure an even stronger future for Taiwan.”

On July 8, Mr. Abbott arrived in South Korea, the second stop of his East Asia tour. He also plans to visit Japan before returning to the United States on July 13.
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.