Ladies and gentlemen:
It is a great honor to attend the opening ceremony of the GCTF Virtual Conference on Trade Secrets Protection and Digital Piracy Prevention. On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all participants. Thank you for taking the time to attend this virtual conference during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Economic Affairs, the American Institute in Taiwan, and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association for making this workshop possible.
In 2015, Taiwan and the United States launched the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, also known as GCTF. This multilateral platform has given Taiwan even more opportunities to contribute its expertise to regional responses to emerging global challenges. We are pleased that Japan joined the platform as a full partner in 2019.
Together, we have achieved a great deal in the past five years. We have held 26 training workshops on a wide range of key areas, such as public health, energy security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, law enforcement, media literacy, and women’s empowerment. More than 800 officials and experts representing 59 countries have participated in this mechanism. Many of them found this platform so useful that they have participated in more than one workshop. This year has been particularly trying due to the pandemic, with GCTF workshops having to be held virtually.
Today, we are holding the first GCTF workshop on trade secrets protection and digital piracy prevention. The topic that brings us together today—intellectual property—lies at the heart of every country’s economic growth and competitiveness, making it a valuable business asset. The benefits derived from the rise of digital technologies and global communication have been tremendous. Unfortunately, these developments have given rise to serious threats from intellectual property theft and online piracy. The theft of trade secrets does not just affect a company’s survival, but also harms a country’s economic wellbeing and, in some cases, its national security.
Take Taiwan for example. Our economy highly depends on the success of our leading high-tech industries. To combat such threats as corporate espionage and trade secret leaks, our government has been striving to establish cybersecurity systems and secure industrial supply chains, thereby protecting our commercial and national interests. The Trade Secrets Act was amended last year to empower prosecutors to issue gag orders to prevent people with access to trade secrets from disclosing proprietary information outside of investigatory or judicial proceedings. This has effectively enhanced such proceedings and built up trust in the judicial system.
Considering the ongoing 5G race, and digital transformation and trade competition trends around the world, new forms of corporate espionage and cyber threats will surely continue to emerge. To bolster our ability to protect trade secrets and curb digital piracy, countries need to work together and share their experience. Just like with a puzzle, each one of you is an indispensable piece that helps complete this partnership and keep our enterprises safe from intellectual property theft.
Once again, thank you all for joining this GCTF workshop. I trust that you will have fruitful and productive discussions over the following two days. I wish the workshop great success! Thank you.