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Whitmer travels to Taiwan to promote economic collaboration with Michigan

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Whitmer travels to Taiwan to promote economic collaboration with Michigan

Mar 04, 2024 | 3:09 pm ET
By Anna Liz Nichols
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Whitmer travels to Taiwan to promote economic collaboration with Michigan
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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer outlines her fall legislative priorities during a "What's Next Address" in Lansing on Aug. 30, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced the opening of a Michigan Taiwan Office as she plans to spend the next five days traveling Taiwan and South Korea to broker economic collaboration for several industries in Michigan, including automotive manufacturing and semiconductors. 

This is the second time in six months Whitmer has visited Taiwan and again is pushing for Michigan to create partnerships to stake its claim in the electric vehicle industry.

The visit for Whitmer, a frequently mentioned 2028 presidential candidate, takes place as the U.S. Senate has passed a $95 billion emergency spending package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but it has stalled in the GOP-led House. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the Taiwan piece was necessary to “counter ever-growing Chinese aggression.” While meeting with governors in late February, President Joe Biden urged them to press lawmakers to pass the aid package. In May 2023, Whitmer met with Ukrainian allies during a trip to Latvia.

Whitmer said in a news release Monday that opening the new Michigan Taiwan Office will help grow Michigan’s economy and encourage investment from Taiwanese partners to bring manufacturing supply chains to Michigan, creating more jobs in-state.

“We are sharing our story around the world and competing with other nations to bring jobs, projects, and supply chains back home to Michigan,” Whitmer said in a news release. “On this economic development mission, I am excited to open the Michigan Taiwan Office and continue forging strong relationships with partners around the globe. Team Michigan stands united as we work together to build a brighter future. Through our innovative businesses and comprehensive economic development efforts, we are all working together to build something special here.”

Whitmer’s office added that on her first day in Taiwan, she announced three investment projects with Taiwanese firms in the automotive sphere.

 Tung Thih Electronics (TTE), will bring research and development, as well as manufacturing operations to a new location in Northville. TYC Americas will be expanding research and development operations for automotive lighting in Wixom. Sumeeko will expand automotive fastener manufacturing in Fraser.

Whitmer’s office said she is being joined by several stakeholders in Michigan’s economy, including representatives of Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Ferris State University. Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr., as well as other MEDC officials are also on the trip.

“This trip is a critical part of the ‘Make It in Michigan’ economic development strategy of presenting the Michigan value proposition in-market to Korean and Taiwanese businesses and citizens. Korean and Taiwanese businesses have invested in our state and will continue to create employment and entrepreneurial opportunities that will benefit People, revitalize Places and create Projects across both peninsulas,” Messer said in a release.