Speaking at AmCham Taipei’s 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet at the Grand Hyatt on March 21, Alex Wong, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, staunchly reaffirmed American government support for Taiwan.
Stating that “the United States has been, is, and always will be Taiwan’s closest friend and partner,” Wong said “the aim of U.S. policy is to ensure that Taiwan’s people can continue along their chosen path, free from coercion.” He told the audience of 700 AmCham members and guests, including President Tsai Ing-wen and more than 100 other Taiwan government officials, that American commitment to the goals of strengthening ties with the Taiwan people and bolstering Taiwan’s ability to defend its democracy “has never been stronger.”
The State Department official also referred to Taiwan’s constitutional democracy as an example for the entire Indo-Pacific region, adding that Taiwan should no longer be “excluded unjustly” from international forums.
“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan doesn’t change from administration to administration or from president to president,” Wong said. “It doesn’t change with the rise or fall of the fortunes of other powers in the region. It doesn’t change with the emergence of new challenges or new threats.”
Wong’s remarks were widely covered by the Taiwanese and international media, including The New York Times. The full text is posted on the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) website.
In introducing the Deputy Assistant Secretary, AIT Director Kin Moy cited several positive recent developments in Taiwan on issues that AmCham Taipei had advocated – Taiwan’s enhancement of transparency by adopting a 60-day notice and comment period for new laws and regulations, and its bolstering of intellectual property rights by preparing to establish a patent linkage system for pharmaceuticals.
Earlier in the evening, President Tsai continued the tradition of the Taiwan president addressing the Chamber’s annual signature event. She hailed the “positive direction Taiwan-U.S. relations have taken over the past few years,” including President Trump’s signing of the Taiwan Travel Act into law, encouraging more visits back and forth by government officials.
She also praised AmCham Taipei’s work in advancing bilateral relations and improving the investment environment in Taiwan through its Doorknock delegations to Washington, publication of the Taiwan White Paper and Taiwan Business TOPICS magazine, and conducting its annual Business Climate Surveys.
The evening’s program began with remarks from 2018 AmCham Chairman Albert Chang, a former classmate of Alex Wong’s at Harvard Law School. Chang, the managing partner in Taiwan for McKinsey & Co., noted that favorable results of AmCham Taipei’s recent Business Climate Survey and praised the accomplishments of Taiwan’s past 50 years of economic development. But he also cited the survey’s findings that “60% of our member companies believe we need more policymaker engagement with the private sector in setting regulations” and that “90% believe that in an innovation-based economy, professional and managerial talent should be exempted from the labor law” provisions on working hours.
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High-level dignitaries in attendance this year included:
- National Policy Advisor to the President of the President’s Office Mei-Yueh Ho
- Secretary General of Legislative Yuan Jih-Jia Lin
- Minister of National Development Council Mei-Ling Chen
- Secretary-General of National Security Council David Tawei Lee
- Chairman of Financial Supervisory Commission Wellington L. Koo
- Minister of Ministry of Transportation and Communications Tan Ho-Chen
- Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology Liang-Gee Chen
- Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare Shih-Chung Chen
- Minister of Environmental Protection Administration Ying-Yuan Lee
- Chairperson of National Communications Commission Nicole,T.I. Chan
The evening was made possible by the following sponsors:
- Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
- Gold Sponsors: Corning Display Technologies; Franklin Templeton Securities; Standard Chartered Bank
- Silver Sponsors: 3M Taiwan, HSBC Bank, JT Tobacco International, and Micron Tech Asia Pacific Taiwan
- Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, AllianceBernstein Investments, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, Versum Materials
- General Sponsors: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, P & G, SEMI Taiwan, The Tobacco Institute of the ROC
- Wine & Liquor: Sergio Valente and Diageo