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Taiwan-U.S. defense industry forum to be held in Kaohsiung in May

2018/04/15 20:28:47

Image taken from Pixabay

April 15 (CNA) An annual defense industry conference between Taiwan and the United States will be held for the first time in Kaohsiung on May 10 and will focus on issues related to shipbuilding, aerospace development and information security.

The event had previously been held in the U.S. in October every year since it began in 2002, but Taiwan's military proposed at the 2017 conference to meet twice a year, once in Taiwan and once in the U.S., so that American officials and businesses could come to Taiwan and learn about the local market.

The proposal was eventually accepted after the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, which has hosted the conference since 2002, and the Taiwan Defense Industry Development Association (DIDA), a nonprofit organization founded in July 2017, signed a memorandum of understanding on defense industry cooperation between the two sides.

The Taiwan conference will take place in the first half of each year and focus on technical exchanges between U.S. and Taiwanese companies, while the U.S. conference will continue to be held in the second half of the year and focus on defense industry policies.

The Kaohsiung conference, to be called the "Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Forum," is expected to attract international weapons systems suppliers, including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Co. and British Aerospace.

Representatives of these overseas companies will be taken to visit DIDA members such as the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Aerospace Industrial Development Corp., Kaohsiung-based China Steel Corp., Jong Shyn Shipbuilding Co., CSBC Corp. Taiwan and Trend Micro during their stay in Taiwan, sources said.

(By Yu Kai-hsiung and Elizabeth Hsu)

Taiwan 台湾 대만 ไต้หวัน
Kaohsiung 高雄 가오슝 เกาสง

"Discovery: Asia's New Bay Area - Kaohsiung"
"Flying Over Kaohsiung"

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Taiwan-US defense forum in Kaohsiung only to talk business

The president of the US-Taiwan Business Council will lead a US delegation to attend the non-official forum in May

By Teng Pei-ju,Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2018/04/18 17:48

(Taiwan News) — The Taiwan-U.S. Defense Business Forum will be held on May 10 for the first time in Taiwan, but according to a source closely following the matter, there will not be any U.S. government officials attending the event.

Despite speculation that high-level U.S. officials might visit Taiwan for the forum in Kaohsiung after the enactment of the Taiwan Travel Act (H.R.535), the Liberty Times quoted a source as saying that the event was intended for informal exchanges involving representatives from the private sectors of both Taiwan and the U.S.

The U.S. delegation would be led by Rupert J. Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, added the source.

The source also said if Taiwanese companies wished to become a supplier in the U.S. arms business, the forum in May would be a good opportunity for those companies to spot new business niches in the U.S. arms industry.

As for another defense business forum scheduled later this year in the U.S., there will be a delegation led by high-level officials from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense and other governmental institutes. The delegation will aim to have more interactions with U.S. counterparts and hold talks on arms sales to Taiwan, according to the source.

The Taiwan-U.S. Defense Business Forum was initiated in 2002 and was held once a year in the U.S. until 2017. From 2018, the forum will be held twice a year in Taiwan and the U.S. respectively.

The Liberty Times reported that over the years, officials from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, among other official agencies, had joined the forums in the U.S.

According to the agenda for the forum in May, there will be a keynote speech on U.S.-Taiwan cooperation in defense businesses, and talks about Taiwan's shipbuilding, cybersecurity, and aerospace industries.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

First Taiwan-US defense forum held

DUE DILIGENCE:One executive said the level of protection for intellectual property and trade secrets in the nation is a concern for potential defense industry partners

By Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter

Retired lieutenant general Francis Wiercinski, a former US Army Pacific commander who is now senior vice president and managing director of US-based Cubic Corp, attends the inaugural Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum in Kaohsiung yesterday.
Photo: CNA

The inaugural Taiwan-US Defense Business Forum was held yesterday in Kaohsiung to facilitate bilateral defense industry cooperation and ease Taiwan’s entry into the global defense supply chain.

The event at the Grand Hi-Lai Hotel was jointly organized by the Taiwan Defense Industry Development Association and the US-Taiwan Business Council.

The one-day event was part of the annual US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference, a platform for dialogue on Taiwan’s national security needs, weapons procurement and defense cooperation that had been held every year in the US since 2002.

One attendee, retired lieutenant general Francis Wiercinski, a former US Army Pacific commander who is now senior vice president and managing director of US-based Cubic Corp, told reporters he was happy to participate in the event and conduct exchanges with partners in the region.

“We are all working with industry and trying to do better on both sides learning from each other,” Wiercinski said.

The forum’s focus on the shipbuilding, cybersecurity and aerospace industries reflects their importance to national security and their positive effect on the broader economy, Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies secretary-general Andrew Yang (楊念祖) said.

The environment for bilateral defense industry cooperation is generally positive due to the policy of US President Donald Trump’s administration and long-term US strategic interests and values, panelists said.

Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said he has high hopes for Trump’s commitment to assisting Taiwan’s defense capabilities, adding that Trump has “good people” in his administration.

Taiwanese businesses are already part of the global supply chain, which bodes well for the efforts of the nation’s defense industry for such participation, he said.

“I see no reason Taiwan should not succeed here,” he added.

BAE Systems industrial strategy vice president Philip Georgariou said Taiwan has a “few challenges and many more opportunities.”

However, the level of protection for intellectual property and trade secrets in Taiwan is an abiding concern for potential defense industry partners, he said.

Taiwanese corporations that have dealings with or subsidiaries in China need to properly firewall their organizations, because due diligence requires US industrial entities to have assurances that their sensitive technologies and secrets are safe, he added.

Commitments to protect intellectual property and information security are “essential to trust,” Hammond-Chambers said.

“If I can take down one barrier, one issue, it is IP [intellectual property] and trade secrets,” he said.

Another point of concern is Taiwan’s defense spending, which as a share of GDP has remained low, Hammond-Chambers said, calling President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) increases to the defense budget “modest” and “barely keeping up with inflation.”

Trump loomed large in Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin’s (沈榮津) keynote speech.

Shen was effusive in his praise of the US president’s Taiwan policy, but he voiced carefully phrased concerns that Taiwan must adjust its policy according to shifting US priorities, saying that the nation has sustained “collateral damage” from Washington’s steel and aluminum tariffs against China.

Regarding defense spending as a share of GDP, Shen said the measurement does not take into account military personnel costs or force structure, and therefore presents an inaccurate reflection of Tsai’s commitment to national defense.

Lockheed Martin business development director for Asia-Pacific Robert Laing said there is significant opportunity for Taiwanese shipbuilders to cooperate with their US counterparts.

As Washington reorients its defense priorities from fending off terrorism to dealing with powerful rivals, the US Navy has renewed its interest in guided-missile frigates and anti-

submarine warfare, which match the Republic of China Navy’s needs, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳) said the Tsai administration plans to spend US$15.67 billion on the navy from this year to 2040.

While the naval program is currently focused on submarines, frigates, minelayers and amphibious transport docks, the navy would later move on to developing destroyers, landing helicopter docks, marine special operations craft and other ships, she said.

These measures would provide strong, sustainable demand for the domestic shipbuilding industry, she added.

However, during the question-and-answer session, association chairman Han Pi-hsiang (韓碧祥) stood up in the audience and issued a sharply worded critique of the government’s procurement policy.

Domestic shipbuilders are either “glutted to bursting or starving to death,” because government contracts have been sporadic and outsized, he said.

Under the current government procurement system, contractors have to complete large batches of ships before being paid, which is risky and drains them of funds, he added.

“Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry is a hard environment to survive in,” Han said. “I want to use this forum to communicate with the government and work out these problems.”

Additional reporting by CNA

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Taiwan 台湾 대만 ไต้หวัน
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