A Message for U.S. Citizens: Notice Regarding Social Security Services

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has consolidated its overseas operations into several regional offices that provide a full range of SSA services for U.S. citizens residing outside of the United States.  Effective October 1, 2017, individuals residing in Taiwan who require social security services or have questions about SSA benefits must contact the SSA Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) located in the Philippines, rather than the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Please be advised that as of October 1, AIT can no longer accept telephone calls, emails, or walk-in consultations regarding Social Security issues.

For more information or any questions about the services provided at the FBU in the Philippines and how to contact them, please visit their webpage at: https://ph.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/social-security/. You can also reach them at (632) 301-2000 ext. 9, or [email protected].

For comprehensive information on SSA’s services abroad, please visit SSA’s webpage, “Service Around the World.”

If you are already receiving SSA benefits payments, there will be no change in the method of distribution of those payments.

Taiwan’s Leadership in the Global Environment

Minister Lee Ying-yuan of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on September 27 addressed an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting on the subject of “Taiwan’s Leadership in the Global Environment.” The event at the Grand Hyatt Taipei was jointly sponsored by the Chamber’s Sustainable Development and Chemical Manufacturers committees.

Lee highlighted the Taiwan EPA’s achievements in the following areas:

  • Removal of debris from the sea floor in nearby waters and imposing marine pollution controls. For example, Taiwan was recently the first country in Asia to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products to prevent their entering the food chain through fish.
  • A series of programs to improve air quality by reducing pollution from both stationary and mobile sources as well as decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Engagement in over 200 environment-related projects with the United States since the signing of a bilateral agreement in 1993.
  • Participation in the International Environmental Partnership to promote e-waste management.
  • Coordination with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on mercury monitoring.
  • Cooperation with Australia on ship oil leakage.

From left to right: AmCham’s Sustainable Development Committee Co-Chair, Kenny Jeng, A/P Product Stewardship Manager, DuPont Taiwan Ltd.; Lee Ying-yuan, Minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of TaiwanAndrea Wu, AmCham Taipei President; AmCham’s Sustainable Development Committee Co-Chair, Cosmas Lu, Strategy Adviser, Super Dragon Technology Co., LTD.; AmCham’s Chemical Manufacturers Committee Co-Chair, Michael Wong, President, Kraton Formosa Polymers Corporation; 

The Minister praised innovative companies in Taiwan’s private sector who are working toward the goal of a zero-waste society by finding new uses for recycled materials.  For example, one of them has developed a process for converting plastic bags into bio oil, he said.

Lee holds a master’s degree in health policy from Harvard University and a doctorate in health economics from the University of North Caroline. His previous positions include member of the Legislative Yuan, Minister of the Council of Labor Affairs, and Secretary-general of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and Secretary-general of the Executive Yuan.

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

How to Be a Creative Leader and Empower Your Staff to Innovate

Truly great leaders create truly innovative organizations. A prerequisite to becoming a great leader is self-knowledge and a practical understanding of the science of innovation.

AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee invited Stewart Desson, Founder and CEO of Lumina Learning, to hold a half-day seminar on “How to Be a Creative Leader and Empower Your Staff to Innovate.” The interactive workshop was held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on September 26.

Through group and brainstorming exercises, attendees learned about their own personalities and how to use that knowledge to their advantage in the innovation process. Desson also presented a four-stage creativity model and gave attendees a chance to explore ways on quickly understanding personalities. Learning about personalities will enable leaders to be able to maximize the innovative potential of others to generate ideas and improve productivity and personal effectiveness.

Stewart Desson, Founder and CEO of Lumina Learning with Lumina Learning staff and AmCham Taipei staff

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Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Meeting with Senator Steve Daines

Representatives from AmCham Taipei met with visiting U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MO) at the American Institute in Taiwan during his one-day trip to Taiwan on September 22. Daines is the only member of the Senate with experience working in Asia, and he expressed a keen interest in strengthening U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Representatives from AmCham Taipei met with U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MO)

A chemical engineering graduate of Montana State University, Daines spent 13 years with Procter & Gamble, including six years living in Hong Kong and China  spearheading P&G’s entry into the China market. His business experience also includes three years with his family’s construction company in Montana, and service with RightNow Technologies, a cloud-based software company, as Vice President of North America Sales and Vice President of the Asia-Pacific division.

Attending the meeting from AmCham were Standing Vice Chairman Dan Silver, President Andrea Wu, Former Chairmen Paul Cassingham and Thomas McGowan, Governor and Human Resources Committee Co-chair Seraphim Ma, and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

New NDC Minister Chen Mei-ling Visits AmCham

Just two weeks after taking office as Minister of the National Development Council (NDC), Chen Mei-ling paid a courtesy call at AmCham Taipei accompanied by colleagues including Deputy Minister Kao Shien-quey, Director-general Connie Chang of the Department of Overall Planning, Director of the Minister’s Office Ray Chou, and staff members from the Council’s Regulatory Reform Center.

The group was received at AmCham Taipei’s 6th floor Lincoln Room by Standing Vice Chairman Dan Silver, Vice Chairman Daniel Tseng, President Andrea Wu, Former Chairman Paul Cassingham, Governors Tim Ju and Vincent Shih, and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics including energy policy, the labor law, government procurement, healthcare policy, the automotive industry, the promotion of data technology, and the importance of attracting foreign investment.

Minister Chen, who holds a master’s degree in law from National Taiwan University and a doctorate in law from National Cheng Chi University, served as Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan before taking her current position. She said that her legal background means she is likely to take a different approach from her predecessors heading the NDC, who were mainly economists. While affirming the importance of economic development, she said that her concept of “development” is broader, incorporating the various other factors that impact life in Taiwan.

The new minister expressed the wish to maintain frequent contact with AmCham Taipei as issues of mutual concern arise.

AmCham Taipei Marks 66th Anniversary

With a gala reception attended by nearly 100 members and guests, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on September 14 celebrated the 66th anniversary of its establishment. The event was held at The Penthouse located on the 16th floor of the Eslite Hotel, where attendees enjoyed a light buffet dinner and spectacular night views of Taipei City.

The event was sponsored by Abbott Laboratories Services Corp., Taiwan Branch.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman Dan Silver, President Andrea Wu, AIT Directory Kin Moy

In brief remarks, AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman Dan Silver highlighted some of the Chamber’s key achievements over the past year, including this year’s June 26-30 Doorknock trip to Washington, D.C. to better understand the current thinking in the American capital about U.S.-Taiwan relations.

He also mentioned that this year the annual Taiwan White Paper received wide media and government attention, especially when it became known that no issues from the 2016 White Paper had yet been completely resolved. In response, the Taiwan government set up quarterly review meetings with AmCham Taipei over the coming year, to monitor progress on the issues and help ensure better results in the current advocacy cycle.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – AmCham Taipei Acting Chairman, Dan Silver

Silver also reported that the utilization of the AmCham Taipei Lincoln Room, the multifunctional meeting space on the 6th floor of the Chamber’s office building, has been growing at a very encouraging rate and has increased its revenue by 60% from last year. The Lincoln Room has served more than 60 Chamber events this year, including press conferences, government visits, luncheons, workshops, seminars, happy hours, and marketplace sessions, and it is also available for rental by member companies and others.

Further, Silver called attention to the efforts to increase the digital presence of the main AmCham website and Taiwan Business TOPICS Online, as the traffic of both websites has grown steadily, doubling compared to a year earlier.

Representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Director Kin Moy expressed appreciation for AmCham’s longstanding, continuous efforts to strengthen bilateral economic relations between Taiwan and the United States. He cited the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper as providing excellent reference for both the Taiwan and U.S. governments regarding the needs of multinational businesses operating in Taiwan.

2017 Anniversary Cocktail – the American Institute in Taiwan Directory Kin Moy

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Tourism 2020: A Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy

Taiwan boasts a number of scenic destinations and tourism resources. Despite the decline in Chinese tourists since 2016, Taiwan has been able to increase the number of visitors from other areas. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is working with local governments and the private sector to develop sustainable models for the travel industry by offering a visitor-friendly environment, smart travel facilities, and authentic experiences.

AmCham Taipei’s Travel & Tourism Committee invited Tourism Bureau Director-general Chou Yung-Hui to deliver a Chinese-language presentation on “Tourism 2020 – 台灣永續觀光發展願景” and share strategies on developing sustainable tourism. The presentation took place at a luncheon held at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel on September 8.

Chou provided an overview of the current status of Taiwan’s tourism market and noted key trends impacting the travel and tourism industry globally:

  • Growing Asian Market: the Asia-Pacific market is stronger than ever and will be the fastest growing region for tourism development.
  • Globalization Effect: tourists are showing an increasing preference for shorter-distance international trips.
  • Localization and cultural relevance: consumers’ desire for an authentic experience play an integral part in their travel planning.
  • Digital transformation: the rise of digital technology has changed consumer travel behavior and has created new business opportunities.

From left to right: Andrea Wu, AmCham Taipei president, AmCham Travel & Tourism Committee Co-chair Pauline Leung, CEO, Compass Public Relations Ltd.; Director-general Chou Yung-Hui, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, M.O.T.C.; and Director Cheng Ying-Huei, International Affairs, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, M.O.T.C.

In line with the global trends and the government’s New Southbound policy, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau will be implementing the following strategies to develop a sustainable tourism market for Taiwan:

  • Market diversification: the emphasis will be on Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia; deepening the penetration of the European and American markets, maintenance of the Chinese market, and further developing new market segments including MICE, cruise lines, Muslim tourism, and charter-flight travelers.
  • Promotion of domestic travel: deployment of a new Citizen’s Travel Card program designed to encourage domestic travel through high-quality travel packages.
  • Guidance for industrial transformation: adjustments to the tourism structure to improve service quality and maximize opportunities for businesses through brand exposure, quality-evaluation mechanisms, increased resources and support for travel agencies, and strengthened training for foreign-tour guides.
  • Smart tourism: integration and improvement of services for Foreign Independent Travelers (FIT), including travel information, ticketing systems, and public transport services.
  • Expansion of experiential tourism: working with local governments to create new tourist attractions and promote localized travel adventures, such as themed itineraries for scenic spots catering to international tourists.

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation.

Leadership Meeting with House Foreign Affairs Committee Representatives

Over breakfast on Sept. 1 at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, members of the AmCham Taipei leadership met with a delegation from the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and also including Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, and Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR).

The members of Congress reiterated their support for continued strengthening of U.S.-Taiwan ties in the areas of both national security and economic cooperation.

Following a briefing by Chamber Chairman Albert Chang on the current business climate in Taiwan, Lin Kiat Yap of Micron gave a report on challenges facing the Taiwan semiconductor industry (a key part of the supply chain for many leading U.S. tech companies) and Wayne Chin of Bechtel provided a presentation on behalf of the Energy Committee and Infrastructure & Engineering Committee.

September 1, 2017 – Leadership Meeting with House Foreign Affairs Committee Representatives at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel

 

Cross-Agency Meetings with NDC

Representatives of six AmCham Taipei committees had the opportunity on August 30 to discuss their key White Paper issues with their regulators at a meeting presided over by Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the National Development Council (NDC). The four-hour meeting in the NDC conference room was the first in what will be quarterly sessions until the 2018 White Paper is launched next June.

The government suggested holding the series of meetings to facilitate progress on White Paper issues after learning that none of the 80 issues from the 2016 White Paper had been totally resolved.

The committees and their issues were:

  • Travel and Tourism, regarding Taiwan’s policy of requiring refunds for canceled hotel reservations, even when customers agreed to non-cancellability as part of special promotional offers.
  • Intellectual Property, on proposed revisions to the Copyright Act.
  • Retail, concerning problems with mandatory inspection of various imported products in certified domestic laboratories.
  • Insurance, on suggested measures to incentivize insurers to offer protection insurance.
  • Capital Markets, on proposals to relax existing securities investment rules to permit broader participation.
  • Banking, regarding regulatory restrictions on the onshore wealth-management business. The Banking Bureau also agreed to a 2016 White Paper request for “double-hatting”: allowing bank personnel to take charge of bond agency and derivative information and advisory functions concurrently.

August 30, 2017 – The first quarterly meeting with the National Development Council

“The meeting was a great start for the new post-White Paper process, but much still remains in flux,” says AmCham Taipei President Andrea Wu. “We appreciate the Taiwan government’s efforts to actively address our issues, and hope to see early resolution to many of these longstanding challenges.”