W.Va. delegation opens state office in Taiwan

State leaders and lawmakers cut the ribbon this week on West Virginia's Taiwan Office.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 7:20 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The sound of “Country Roads” played half a world away in Taiwan, where state leaders and lawmakers cut the ribbon this week on West Virginia’s Taiwan Office.

West Virginia Economic Development Sec. Mitch Carmichael spoke with WSAZ NewsChannel 3 from Taiwan on Friday.

“Without an office in Taiwan, we miss opportunities to provide jobs and growth for our citizens in West Virginia,” he said. “With this office, at a very low cost, we can attract more jobs, more opportunity and employ West Virginians.”

The Secretary joined a bipartisan coalition of eight state lawmakers, some of whom took to Twitter during their visit.

“We’re excited to be here and optimistic for the future of this partnership between Taiwan and West Virginia,” tweeted Del. Kayla Young, D-Kanawha.

“Taiwan is a beautiful place filled with extremely hospitable people,” tweeted state Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke. “Our group has had an amazing experience.”

“Great to open our trade Office in Taiwan and to further open markets in Taiwan to West Virginia companies while also encouraging investment in West Virginia,” tweeted Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell.

The trip coming at a time of heightened tensions involving Taiwan between the U-S and China.

“The state of West Virginia is not going to control the geopolitical outcome,” Carmichael said. “What we are doing is to set up an office, a relatively small office, to give us a presence here, in Taiwan, to enable companies to learn about the advantages of, the many, multitudinous advantages of locating in West Virginia.”

The state’s top lawmakers -- House Speaker Roger Hanshaw and Senate President Craig Blair -- issued these statements via press release:

“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,” said Hanshaw, R-Clay. “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.”

“This partnership in trade will prove prosperous and beneficial to all involved,” said Blair, R-Berkeley. “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.”

Carmichael says a big announcement is already in the works.

“One in particular, I’ll say, with a number of jobs -- over a hundred great jobs -- that we’re in negotiations with,” he said.

Most of the delegation is scheduled to return this weekend.

West Virginia becomes one of 16 states with an office in Taiwan. One Taiwanese business, APG Polytech, already operates in Mason County.

Some members of the delegation also visited Japan, of which 22 companies already invest in West Virginia.