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New Jersey Opens Asia Pacific Center in Taipei

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On May 29th, 2024, the state of New Jersey, in conjunction with Choose New Jersey, opened the New Jersey Asia Pacific Center in Taipei. This new center will serve Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and China, and aims to facilitate trade and collaboration between these countries and the state of New Jersey.

The State of New Jersey, in conjunction with Choose New Jersey, a non-profit organization, opened its Asia Pacific Center in Taipei on May 29th, 2024. The center aims to deepen New Jersey’s economic presence and cultural ties with East Asian regional partners. The expansion of New Jersey’s economic mission into Asia through this center represents a greater push by US subnational entities to pursue connections and engage in subnational diplomacy with the Indo-Pacific region.

Plans for the center were first announced during New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s economic mission to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in October 2023. During his visit to Taipei, Governor Murphy and then-President Tsai Ing-Wen announced the state’s plans to open a center located in Taipei to serve the wider East Asia region. Since Murphy’s visit in 2023, New Jersey has reportedly seen an 845% increase in the number of East Asian companies interested in establishing or expanding their businesses in the state. The Asia Pacific Center will act as a conduit for stakeholders in New Jersey and East Asia to engage in open economic and cultural exchange.

New Jersey’s relationship with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China already consists of well-established economic links and cultural connections. New Jersey has established 16 sister city relationships across these countries, creating a web of cultural connections and corresponding exchanges across East Asia. In 2023, New Jersey’s total exports to Japan totaled $4.4 billion, supporting14,780 jobs in the state. The state’s total exports to South Korea in 2023 amounted to $2.1 billion, with an estimated $621 million invested in the state by Korean greenfield projects since 2003. New Jersey and China have a comparatively strong rate of both cultural and economic exchange, with six sister cities and $2.8 billion in total exports to China. However, New Jersey’s connection with Taiwan is less established, with only one sister city relationship having been established and a total goods export of $745.7 million. Through the operations of the new Asia Pacific Center in Taipei, the state wishes to cultivate a stronger economic and cultural relationship with Taiwan. Overall, New Jersey already has a strong economic and cultural relationship with the region, but the newly opened center will further increase New Jersey’s viability as an economic and cultural partner in the region.

The center was officially opened with much fanfare in Taipei, with pre-recorded speeches from Governor Murphy and Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim, as well as in-person remarks from academics from New Jersey’s top universities and Betsy Shieh, the Commercial Section Chief at the American Institute in Taiwan. During her speech, former New Jersey resident and current Vice President of Taiwan Hsiao Bi-khim spoke fondly of her time living in New Jersey and expressed optimism at the center’s capability to expand New Jersey-Taiwan cultural and economic exchange.

New Jersey’s Asia Pacific Center illustrates efforts to cultivate US state-level relations with Asian countries and directly administer these cultural and economic relationships. The state’s recent opening of the Asia Pacific Center is another step in strengthening New Jersey’s subnational diplomacy initiatives in the Indo Pacific.

Uma Baron is a Summer 2024 Young Professional at the East West Center in Washington. Uma is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh where she earned an MA Hons in Chinese Studies. Uma previously served as an intern at the Global Taiwan Institute.