Taiwan Plans to Shift Medical Supply Chain Away from China - The News Lens International Edition


Summary generated on August 12, 2020

    TAIPEI - The United States and Taiwan are making a public show of strengthening ties this week, signing a memorandum of understanding to improve cooperation in public health as part of a high-level U.S. visit to the island.

    In the absence of formal diplomatic ties, the MOU was signed on Monday by W. Brent Christensen, director the American Institute in Taiwan, and Yang Jen-ni, chairwoman of the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs on behalf of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

    Three Taiwanese industry experts who spoke to VOA say the memorandum will bring business opportunities to Taiwan, especially if the U.S. provides technology transfers in advanced medical material to support Taiwan's public health industry.

    That will enable Taiwan to begin shifting its medical supply lines away from China and towards the United States.

    Darson Chiu, a research fellow at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, told VOA that the coronavirus pandemic has prompted Taiwan's policymakers to reassess Taiwan's reliance on raw materials from China.

    He said, as an example, that China has used masks made in Taiwan since the Covid-19 pandemic that were produced without elements produced in China.

    Previously, Taiwanese companies either imported raw materials from China for low-cost products, or sent high value semi-finished medical equipment or other public health products to China for assembly, before exporting these goods to other markets.

    Aaron Chen, the chief operating officer of TCI, said collaboration with Taiwan is consistent with America's public health policy needs.

    TCI is a leading contract research manufacturing organization based in Taiwan.

    He said an option is for the U.S. to shift part of this supply chain to Taiwan.

    Chan Chang-chuan, former dean of National Taiwan University College of Public Health, told VOA that there's another important playing card in Taiwan's public health industry.

    He hopes the new memorandum of understanding will facilitate collaboration and investment in biotech firms between the U.S. and the island.

    The News Lens has been authorized to publish this article from Voice of America.

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