Taiwan-USA Trade and Investment Networking Center Opens in Taipei

AmCham Taipei on December 18 participated in the opening ceremony of the Taiwan-USA Trade and Investment Networking Center. The center is the result a collaborative effort between the government-sponsored Taiwan External Trade and Development Council (TAITRA), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the American State Offices Association (ASOA), and AmCham Taipei. It is designed to strengthen commercial ties between Taiwan and the U.S. by facilitating cooperation between business partners, and offering advisory, analysis, and referral services, among other functions.

TAITRA Chairman James Huang delivered the ceremony’s opening speech, highlighting the special partnership between Taiwan and the U.S., which he said has “enabled Taiwan to be one of the most productive members of the global economy.” In order to take this relationship to the next level, Huang said, a channel was needed to advance comprehensive coordination among Taiwanese and U.S. businesses. Out of this necessity, the idea for the center was born.

In his remarks, AIT Director Brent Christensen stressed the vision for the center as “a one-stop, all-purpose platform to advise and assist Taiwan and American enterprises in expanding two-way trade and investment between the United States and Taiwan.” He emphasized that trade between Taiwan and the U.S. increased by 13.6% in the first 11 months of 2019, and that both partners are important sources of investment for the other. He also stated his desire for the center to play a role in promoting the U.S. government’s SelectUSA Investment Summit, an annual conference held in Washington D.C.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, who gave concluding remarks, pointed to the large amount of return investment by Taiwanese companies that have decided to reshore some of their high-value manufacturing operations from China as a result of the U.S.-China trade dispute. She said this development will make Taiwan an even more attractive location for international trade and investment.

The center is being housed within the TAITRA offices in the International Trade Building, 333 Keelung Rd., Sec. 1, part of the Taipei World Trade Center complex.

 

A Fun-filled Evening at the American Ball

The 2019 American Ball – on the theme of Winter Wonderland – confirmed the event’s reputation as one of Taipei’s social highlights. Co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the ball was held December 7 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, with nearly 300 AmCham members and guests in attendance.

View the full photo gallery here.

Inside the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, attendees were magically transported to a far different climate than subtropical Taipei’s. The wintry theme was reflected in the room decoration, captivating performances by the VMJ dance group, the menu’s Christmas ball dessert, and such concoctions as the “White Christmas Martini” and “Mrs. Claus’ Wildside” available at the cocktail bar.

AmCham President Bill Foreman and emcee ­­­Dannielle Andrews, AIT’s Economic Section Chief, opened the evening with a toast on behalf of the host organizations. Attendees then enjoyed a succulent five-course meal that featured roasted U.S. beef tenderloin, paired with Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from Sergio Valente) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo).

Live music was provided by Sherwyne Pereira and his band MODA, whose pulsating beat kept the dance floor packed until late in the evening. Dancers could take a break by nibbling on such late-night snacks as chocolate-covered bacon, churros, and macaroon sliders. Guests also had the opportunity to get snapshots taken, creating lasting memories at the photo booths.

The event was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies. These included Grand Prize Sponsor United Airlines; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Gold Sponsors Amgen, Grand Hyatt Taipei, HSBC, and Taiwan Sotheby’s; Décor Sponsor Versum Materials; and Silver Sponsors Corning, Everrich, and Prospect Hospitality Co. Ltd. (McDonald’s Restaurants).

The party featured raffle drawings with attractive prizes throughout the night. The grand prize, from United Airlines, was two round-trip business-class tickets to any U.S. destination. Other gift sponsors were the Grand Hyatt Taipei, Amba Taipei Songshan, CÉ LA VI Taipei, eslite hotel, Everrich, Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei, Hilton Taipei SinBan, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Procter & Gamble, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, The Landis Taipei, The Place Taipei, Regent Taipei, Sherwood Taipei, Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

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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.

U.S. Department of Commerce’s Ian Steff on the Indo-Pacific Strategy and Vision

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets Ian Steff spoke at an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting on November 11 on the theme of “The U.S., Taiwan, and a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Steff, who is concurrently Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the Commerce Department, was in Taiwan as head of the U.S. delegation attending the third Taiwan-U.S. Digital Economy Forum, jointly organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO).

Participation in the Digital Economy Forum from the U.S. government included officials representing the Department of State, Department of Commerce, Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Agency for International Development, and AIT. Members of the delegation also attended the AmCham luncheon, part of the Chamber’s “Insights from Washington” series.

In his presentation, Steff discussed the four pillars of activity of his office:

  • Promoting international trade relations.
  • Encouraging investment into the U.S. through the Select USA program.
  • Engaging in advocacy on behalf of U.S. companies bidding on international contracts to help ensure a fair process.
  • Working to reduce or eliminate trade barriers.

He also introduced the U.S. government’s Indo-Pacific strategy, stressing that it is “industry-driven” with the aim of enhancing commercial interests and ensuring investment climates that are friendly to U.S. investors. And he commended the Taiwan government for such recent achievements as the establishment of a patent linkage system to strengthen IPR protection for pharmaceuticals.

Before Steff’s tenure in the U.S. Department of Commerce, he served as the State of Indiana’s first Chief Innovation Officer. He also worked for the Semiconductor Industry Association for nearly a decade, during which time he traveled often to Taiwan and made lasting connections here.

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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.

In Memory of James F. O’Hearn, 1935-2019

Jim O’Hearn, one of the most prominent members of the AmCham Taipei leadership in the 1980s and 90s, passed away in Arizona on November 14 at the age of 84. He served as Chairman (the position was then called President) of the Chamber in 1991 and 1992. Previously he had been a member of the Board of Governors, chairman of the Chemical Manufacturers Committee, Hsieh Nien Fan emcee in 1983, and Christmas Ball emcee in 1981, 1985, and 1988.

His day job was President of Premier Chemical Co., a subsidiary of Uniroyal Chemical Co. specializing in chemicals for the rubber industry. Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sabrina, children Kevin and Claudine, and four grandchildren.

Liver Health Takes Center Stage at Annual Forum

The second annual U.S.-Taiwan Liver Health Forum kicked off the morning of November 15, 2019 at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel. This year’s forum was a collaboration between AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) as part of its [email protected] campaign. November has been themed Innovation and Entrepreneurship Month for the campaign, a fitting background for the forum, where a series of presenters and panelists discussed Taiwan’s continuing work towards becoming a “Liver Health Center of Excellence in Asia.”

As with last year’s event, opening remarks were provided by Vice President Chen Chien-jen. An epidemiologist by training whose past research focused on the control of Hepatitis B, Chen briefed the audience on the history of liver health progress and Hepatitis B management and treatment in Taiwan. He pointed to the substantially reduced risk of cirrhosis, Hepatitis C, and liver cancer in children immunized against Hepatitis B.

AIT Acting Director Raymond Green also gave brief remarks, praising Taiwan as a regional leader in liver health and noting that cooperation on this area is one of the great innovative efforts between the U.S. and Taiwan.

In the lead-off presentation, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung shared slides illustrating Taiwan’s success in decreasing the prevalence of Hepatitis B, as well as the government’s push to eradicate Hepatitis C in Taiwan in advance of the World Health Organization’s 2030 target. Dr. Chen Ding-Shinn of Academia Sinica elaborated on this plan, noting that Taiwan is in a good position to meet this WHO Sustainable Development Goal by 2025. Dr. Pwu Raoh-Fang, MOHW’s National Hepatitis C Program Office Director, noted that public health precision and integrated, localized prevention and treatment approaches will be needed to meet the objective.

Other presenters included Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health; Dr. Kao Jia-Horng, president of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver; and Dr. Huang Yi-Hsiang, chief of the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Association spoke on NHI coverage for Taiwan’s national virus prevention and treatment programs, which reached nearly 40% in 2018. He and other speakers emphasized that cooperation among physicians, the NHIA, and industry have contributed to Taiwan’s leading position in the treatment of HCC liver cancer.

The first panel, moderated by General Manager Ramanathan Velayutham of Abbvie International Taiwan, discussed how Taiwan can reasonably achieve its goal of eliminating Hepatitis C on the island by 2025. Two other panel discussions rounded out the forum, moderated by Gilead Sciences General Manager Pongo Peng and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Mark Horng, respectively.

Besides the presenters and moderators, panelists included Dr. Wang Ying-wei, Director-General of MOHW’s Health Promotion Administration; Dr. Chien Rong-Nan, vice superintendent of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Linkou branch; Dr. Yang Pei-Ming, CEO of the Good Liver Foundation; Dr. Lin Shi-Ming, chairman of the Taiwan Liver Cancer Association; and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Managing Director Rie Nakajima. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman provided closing remarks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platinum sponsors for this year’s forum were Abbvie, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Gilead. MSD was a silver sponsor.

 

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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.

President Tsai Addresses AmCham’s 2019 AGM

With President Tsai Ing-wen as the keynote speaker, AmCham Taipei’s 2019 Annual General Meeting was held November 19 in the newly redecorated Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza. The President paid tribute to the Chamber’s “key role in advancing Taiwan-U.S. trade relations, and in bringing new investments to Taiwan.”

Some 230 Chamber members and guests attended the luncheon meeting, where voting was conducted for the 2020 Board of Governors and Supervisors. See the announcement of the results here.

The six Governors elected for two-year terms were:

  • Mark Chen of Abbott Laboratories
  • CW Chin of Applied Materials Taiwan
  • Timothy Shields of Cigna Taiwan
  • Gina Tsai of Airbnb
  • Fupei Wang of Ogilvy Public Relations
  • Angela Yu of Microsoft

They join 2019-2021 Governors Al Chang of Deloitte & Touche, Albert Chang of McKinsey, Seraphim Ma of Baker & McKenzie, Jan-Hendrik Meidinger of the Grand Hyatt Taipei, and Paulus Mok of Citibank.

Newly elected for one-year terms as Supervisors were:

  • Mark Horng of Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Stephen Tan of International Policy Advisory Group
  • Terry Tsao of SEMI Taiwan

In her speech, President Tsai also thanked AmCham for helping to “remove many obstacles for U.S. companies investing and operating in Taiwan.” She said the government listens closely to the suggestions of AmCham members and responds to their concerns, citing the recent implementation of a Patent Linkage System for pharmaceuticals as an example. See her full remarks here.

Tsai stressed her administration’s determination to build a new economic development model for Taiwan, one that will “transform Taiwan into Asia’s high-end manufacturing and R&D center, a regional financial and wealth management center, and a base for high-quality talent.”

The meeting also included a State of the Chamber 2019 report by Leo Seewald, who served as the AmCham Taipei chairman for most of the year. He highlighted the Chamber’s recent achievements, including receiving the 2019 Corporate Community Leadership Award from the Community Services Center for “exceptional leadership, service, and commitment to Taiwan.”

Seewald also presented the first annual Outstanding Committee Co-chair Awards to Joyce Lee of the Public Health Committee and Dylan Tyson of the Insurance Committee.

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.

AmCham Representatives Meet with U.S. Patent Trademark Office Officials

Two ranking officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – Senior Counsel for China IP Policy Michael Mangelson and Senior Quality Advisor Anthony Caputo – paid a visit to AmCham Taipei on November 8  to learn more about intellectual property issues currently faced by companies operating in Taiwan. The meeting was attended by representatives from six Chamber member companies, including IPR Committee Co-chair Peter Dernbach of Winkler Partners.

During the meeting, attendees discussed digital piracy and copyright issues, especially regarding the dissemination in Taiwan of pirated content hosted on servers in other jurisdictions. Another major topic was the protection of trade secrets in light of the number of Taiwanese engineers being poached by Chinese tech companies.

Mangelson mentioned that during the 1980s, he had been an intern at a law firm in Worldwide House, the same building that houses the AmCham Taipei office. The firm, Huang & Partners, was also the former workplace of Tsai Ing-wen, who was a partner specializing in international economic law.

Foreign Ministry Awards AmCham’s Senior Director Don Shapiro the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded Don Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief of Taiwan Business TOPICS and Senior Director of AmCham, with the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy at a reception packed with family, friends and colleagues on November 8. The Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu, recognized Mr. Shapiro for his contributions to Taiwan’s development as a journalist over the last several decades.

A transcript of Mr. Shapiro’s remarks is as follows:

Minister Wu, Distinguished guests, friends and colleagues, good afternoon.

Thank you, Mr. Minister. This is indeed a great honor. I’m glad I decided to stay in Taiwan longer than the originally planned 10 months.

Although I deeply appreciate the recognition, in fact I consider that it was really my privilege to have been in Taiwan to witness the remarkable transformations that occurred here – politically, economically, socially – and to have been able to help make more people around the world aware of those developments.

When I came to Taiwan in 1969, it was an autocratic, one-party system. I got to know a number of former political prisoners, and one of the least pleasant reporting duties I had was to cover trials of civilians brought before military tribunals under martial law.

Then came the emergence of the tangwai, the founding of the DPP, the end of martial law, new legislative elections, and the direct election of the president. Taiwan had evolved into a vibrant, full-fledged democracy. For this former political science graduate student, it was like a living laboratory.

In international relations, Taiwan was steadily losing diplomatic recognition from other countries, but it was replacing it with strong, substantive unofficial relations. In effect, I saw the writing of a whole new chapter in the history of international affairs.

Economically, when I arrived in Taiwan this country was just going through the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society. Fortunately, besides my political science courses, I had studied a bit of economics, so I could also write about the strides Taiwan was making in economic development. I saw it thrive as one of the Four Tigers of Asia and then become a technology powerhouse.

I recall that 1969, the year of my arrival, was the first year in which Taiwan exported more than one billion US dollars worth of products. Now it exports almost that much in a day.

In addition to my international reporting, for 25 years I was a partner in a publishing company called Trade Winds. Taiwanese companies were then very good at manufacturing but not so much at marketing. Trade Winds played an important role in reaching out to importers around the world and introducing Taiwanese export industries and products.

The past nearly 20 years have been with the American Chamber, and this has also been a great experience. There are not nearly enough media covering Taiwan in the English language, and I believe our Taiwan Business TOPICS monthly has helped fill that gap. Our annual Taiwan White Paper always gets a lot of attention, and it’s been gratifying – especially in the last few years – to see how seriously the Taiwan government takes the issues raised in the White Paper and tries to resolve them.

Again, I would like to thank the government for this honor. Taiwan has been good to me. I came to Taiwan alone but met my wife here and we’ve now been married 46 years. From the start I always enjoyed warm acceptance from her family. I believe that as a “son-in-law of Taiwan,” I had the chance to delve more deeply into Taiwan society and appreciate Taiwan culture.

Our two daughters were born in Taiwan. And although under the Nationality Act at that time they were unable to become ROC citizens, they’ve always considered Taiwan to be home. After more than 20 years in the U.S., daughter Debbie last year decided to return and is now working in the Taiwan hotel industry. Daughter Laurie lives and works in Singapore but looks for every opportunity to come back to visit.

I’m also grateful to the AmCham officers and board for their consistent support and my wonderful colleagues on the Chamber staff for their friendship and unflagging cooperation. I would also like to give a special thanks to several people here today – Kang Ning-hsiang and Antonio Chiang. Over the years, I have learned so much about Taiwan politics from speaking with them. I should also put Minister Wu in that category.

As for the future, I have always been an optimist about Taiwan. In my years here, I’ve seen Taiwan confronted with numerous big challenges, and it has always had the resiliency and fortitude to come out okay. I believe that will continue to be the case, especially if Taiwan continues to open up and connect with the rest of the world as much as possible.

Thank you all for being here today, and thank you MOFA for this honor.

New Co-chair Awards – Recognizing Impactful Leadership

Many of the most important people at AmCham Taipei are the committee co-chairs. They are the ones who lead the organization’s 25 industry committees – the backbone of our advocacy mission that aims to make Taiwan’s business environment more open, innovative and prosperous. Each year, the co-chairs spend hours and hours writing e-mails, briefing policymakers, holding meetings and molding a consensus with their peers on issues that are vital to our businesses.

The Board of Governors has decided it’s time to formally recognize the most impactful co-chairs. With recommendations from the AmCham staff, the Board will select two co-chairs who will receive awards at the Annual General Meeting on Nov. 19. The selection criteria will include:

  • Catalyzing activity with regular committee meetings, strategic goals, innovative tactics and efficient execution.
  • Engaging with Taiwanese and U.S. policymakers on a regular basis and achieving results through substantive engagement.
  • Organizing events that raise the organization’s profile and advance the mission.
  • Joining the CEO Mission to Washington.