Introducing the New “Employment Gold Card”

Creation of the Employment Gold Card for foreign special professionals was an important measure in the recently enacted “Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals” designed to help create a friendly environment for foreign professionals to work and stay in Taiwan. The Employment Gold Card has been open for application since February 8.

Foreign special professionals are defined as important corporate executives and those with recognized expertise in designated fields. The Employment Gold Card combines the functions of a work permit, residency visa, alien residence certificate (ARC), and re-entry permit. Holders of the card will enjoy greater flexibility in seeking, taking up and changing employment, including a longer term of validity of their work permits.

The National Development Council welcomes recommendations of potential candidates eligible for the Card. See the criteria for eligibility – 20180205 Criteria for Foreign Special Professionals

Field Trip to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Office

As the largest national infrastructure project since the Ten Major Infrastructure Projects in the 70s, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Project appears to be a critical piece in Taiwan’s future. The project was previously announced in 2012, but was tabled for years due to various obstacles including land acquisition. Now the project again appears ready for take-off.

From left to right: Hsieh Huai-hui, Vice President, Taoyuan Aerotropolis Co., Ltd.; AmCham President William Foreman; Huang Shih-cho, Chairman of Taoyuan Aerotropolis Co., Ltd.

On January 26, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Co. invited representatives from AmCham Taipei to the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Vision Hall to get a first-hand look at the plans for this program. Members and guests were greeted by Huang Shih-cho, Chairman of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis Co. and Hsieh Huai-hui, the company’s Vice President, who provided a thorough briefing and addressed the visitors’ questions in a Q&A session. Huang emphasized four of Taoyuan’s key advantages as a potential regional hub:

  • Excellent quality of workforce
  • Complete supply chain
  • Central location: three hours to major Asian cities
  • Low earthquake frequency

 

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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.

Brookings Delegation Visits AmCham Taipei

A delegation from the prominent Washington D.C.-based think tank The Brookings Institution called on AmCham Taipei on January 24 for an exchange of views on the status and prospects of U.S.-Taiwan economic relations. The Brookings group was led by Senior Fellow David Dollar, a former World Bank Director for China and Mongolia. It also included Ryan Hass, a former staff member of the National Security Council; Robert Wang, a former Deputy Director of the American Institute in Taiwan; Research Assistant Maeve Whelan-Wuest; and Kelsey Broderick of the Eurasia Group.

They met with AmCham Taipei President William Foreman, Former Chamber Chairmen Tom McGowan and Dan Silver; and AmCham Taipei Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

“Memo from Taipei” Goes to International Contacts

This month AmCham Taipei sent out the latest edition of our periodic Memo from Taipei designed to update the Chamber’s friends and contacts abroad about the latest developments here. The Memo went to a mailing list of about 135 people, including Washington-based government affairs representatives from our member companies, as well as U.S. government officials, think tank scholars, and others who follow U.S.-Taiwan relations closely.

If your company has a Washington representative that you would like added to the mailing list, please let us know.

The latest Memo announced the appointment of William Foreman as the new President of AmCham Taipei, Albert Chang’s reelection as Chairman for 2018, and the list of other Standing Officers for this year. It also conveyed the following information:

Progress in 2017

  • The Legislative Yuan finished the year on a high note by passing long-awaited amendments to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act instituting a system of Patent Linkage for pharmaceuticals for the first time. The proposal had been in AmCham Taipei’s Taiwan White Paper for more than a decade, as well as on the agenda of the bilateral TIFA talks between Taiwan and the U.S. The new law creates a mechanism to ensure that generic forms of drugs still under valid patent in Taiwan cannot legally enter the market, and represents a major advance for Taiwan’s intellectual property rights protection.
  • At AmCham Taipei’s urging, the Executive Yuan in October 2016 increased the notice and comment period for new regulations and trade-related legislation from a mere 14 days to a full 60 days, except in cases of emergency. During the past year the Chamber, working together with the National Development Council (NDC), has been tracking the degree of adherence to that provision – and has seen a steady increase in compliance. AmCham’s emphasis is now on encouraging stakeholders to submit their comments and government agencies to provide meaningful feedback. If such dialogue can become the norm, many of the past difficulties in the regulatory regime could be prevented, the Chamber believes.
  • When the 2017 Taiwan White Paper was issued last June, it was disclosed that none of the 80 White Paper issues from the previous edition had been fully resolved. In response, the Taiwan government scheduled a series of quarterly meetings with AmCham committee representatives to discuss outstanding White Paper items in hopes of raising the success rate. So far two such meetings have been held, presided over by an NDC Vice Minister. Final results will be analyzed at the end of a one-year cycle.

 

2018 Advocacy Items

  • AmCham Taipei was disappointed that President Trump chose to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the Chamber viewed the TPP as important for American leadership in the Asia Pacific and hoped that Washington would support Taiwan’s desire to entire the TPP in a second round. Given the President’s aversion to multilateral trade agreements, however, we now urge the United States to consider entering into a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan, its 10th largest trading partner. We are convinced that such negotiations are the best way to resolve existing bilateral trade issues and to deepen the economic cooperation between the two countries. From both an economic and strategic point of view, this step would be in the best interests of the U.S. At the same time, AmCham Taipei encourages Taiwan to seek eventual membership in the apparent successor to the TPP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  • The Chamber’s member companies, particularly those engaged in high-tech manufacturing, continue to be concerned about the future sufficiency, reliability, and cost of electricity in this market. The Taiwan government has committed itself to shutting down all nuclear power plants by 2025, at the same time sharply cutting back on carbon emissions. AmCham Taipei does not take issue with the aims of the policy, but questions remain as to whether it can be implemented within the designated timeframe given the many challenges involved in rapidly expanding reliance on wind and solar power, as well as the infrastructure to receive imported LNG. For their business planning, both multinational and domestic companies need a clearer energy roadmap from the authorities.
  • The amended Labor Standards Act that took effect last year – instituting new rules for working hours, overtime, and other working conditions – was highly controversial and left both employers and employees dissatisfied. A revised version now before the Legislative Yuan may be a slight improvement but does not tackle what AmCham Taipei considers to be the crux of the problem – the failure to distinguish between professional/managerial personnel and blue-collar workers. Taiwan’s avowed aspiration to develop an innovation-driven economy will not be furthered by treating knowledge workers the same way as those on a factory production line, for example requiring them to clock in and clock out. In fact, that requirement is wholly impractical in an age of global interconnectedness and will constitute a deterrent to investment.