New trade office will make West Virginia more competitive as it tries to attract Taiwanese investment into state
Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, today joined Secretary of Economic Development Mitch Carmichael, Economic Development Director Mike Graney, and Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, to open the West Virginia Taiwan Office at the Taipei World Trade Center in Taipei.
The office will serve as a hub for promoting West Virginia as a prime location for Taiwanese investment and assisting West Virginia businesses with exporting their products and services to Taiwan. As more companies in Taiwan seek to expand their global footprint, the West Virginia Taiwan Office will make the state more competitive in its mission to attract those new investment opportunities.
During Thursday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, Senate President Blair pledged to build a long-term relationship with Taiwan and that this new office would be a strong platform to foster that growth.
“When I first visited Taiwan in 2018, I knew that it was a special place, and I began working on ways we could set up a West Virginia trade office here,” Senate President Blair said. “The people of Taiwan are exactly like the great people of West Virginia. They’re both family oriented, industrious, innovative, and extremely warm, caring and welcoming. In fact, the song ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ is as popular in Taiwan as it is in West Virginia. Everyone knows the words regardless of the language barrier.”
In addition to their similar culture and values, Senate President Blair said the country’s landscape also reminded him of West Virginia, which makes this new pathway to build ties between the Mountain State and Taiwan even more special. One Taiwanese company, APG Polytech, is in Mason County. Senate President Blair said this week’s trade mission has opened even more doors and led to more discussions for future investment.
“This partnership in trade will prove prosperous and beneficial to all involved,” Senate President Blair said. “I am so excited to see what having a permanent physical presence in Taiwan will bring to us in terms of new jobs and opportunities for the people of West Virginia.”
Speaker Hanshaw agreed, and said he is eager to see West Virginia’s relationship with Taiwan continue to strengthen.
“We’ve all learned that even though we can do just about anything virtually, there’s still something special about a handshake and a face-to-face conversation,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Our relationship with our friends here in Taiwan is special, and I’m excited West Virginia will be on the ground here to actively recruit companies that would be a great fit for the economy we’ve been building here in the Mountain State. I appreciate the work our Department of Economic Development has put in here already and I’m eager to see how that continues even after we leave here this week.”
Also attending on behalf of the West Virginia Legislature were Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld, R-Brooke; Senate Minority Whip Robert Plymale, D-Wayne; and Delegates Wayne Clark, R-Jefferson; Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson; Daniel Linville, R-Cabell; and, Kayla Young, D-Kanawha.