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Bermuda, Taiwan ‘can learn from each other’

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Rotary speaker: Philip Wang, director general of the Tapei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami

Bermuda and Taiwan can learn “so much” from one another, according to a dignitary from the East Asian state.

Philip Wang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami, visited Bermuda this week to help strengthen cultural and economic ties between the islands.

During his trip, Mr Wang met with local figures such as Chamber of Commerce president John Wight, Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva and Glenn Jones, of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. He also gave a presentation titled “Taiwan — An Island of Innovation” at Rotary clubs in Hamilton and Sandys.

“I’ve learnt a lot from my new friends in Bermuda,” Mr Wang told The Royal Gazette.

“People here are so well-informed and adroit in insurance matters.

“That’s something that we still need to learn in Taiwan.”

However, Mr Wang pointed to Taiwan’s impressive muscle on the international trading market given its diminutive size.

With just 23 million inhabitants living in 14,000 square miles, Taiwan is the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner — ahead of Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia.

“Sixty years ago we could only export bananas and sugar,” Mr Wang said.

“But our people worked diligently and tried to be trendsetters in technology production, and now the majority of our exports are high-tech products.”

Taiwan also has the world’s fifth-highest foreign-exchange reserves ($423 billion) and almost no debt.

“We are not endowed with natural resources — 98 per cent of our energy has to be imported — but we do have human resources. Regardless of your size, you can still be something.” said Mr Wang, who visited Bermuda from Monday to Thursday.

“We respect all talented people, and here in Bermuda you are not lacking in talented and highly intellectual people.”

Praising Bermuda as “a beautiful paradise”, Mr Wang added: “I’m happy to have met so many of this island’s leaders and talked about a wide range of possible initiatives between Bermuda and Taiwan.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my trip here, and I hope that it will be a good starting point for future co-operation.”

Philip Wang(Photograph by Akil Simmons)