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.

Senator Ted Cruz Attends National Day Celebration, Meets with AmCham Taipei

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and former presidential candidate, became the first U.S. senator in 35 years to attend Taiwan’s National Day celebrations when he visited Taipei on Oct. 9-10. The senator’s visit was part of a swing through the region that also included Japan, India and Hong Kong. After observing the National Day festivities, Senator Cruz had lunch with AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald and President William Foreman. Also attending was Brent Christensen, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan. Topics of discussion included business opportunities for U.S. companies in Taiwan, the country’s relations with China and the outlook for Taiwan’s economy.

Fostering Innovation through Community Development

Taiwan is currently facing issues such as shrinking population, aging society, low birth rates, and an imbalance in urban and rural development. In order to address these issues, the Taiwanese government has launched the Regional Revitalization Program.

Every year AmCham Taipei’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee hosts a forum to enhance members’ understanding of topics relating to social programs and environmental concerns. To raise awareness about the Regional Revitalization Program, the committee held a forum entitled “Fostering Innovation through Community Development” at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on October 2. The event was sponsored by JTI Taiwan.

This year experts from the Lovely Taiwan Foundation; Taichung Township Long-term Care Foundation; and Wu Wei Wu, a learning center for socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers in remote villages in Hualien County, were invited to discuss current trends regarding corporate social responsibility and how the private sector can help promote regional revitalization.

Li Ying-ping of the Lovely Taiwan Foundation recalled that following the 2009 typhoon that devastated mountainous areas of Taitung County, villagers originally were hesitant to accept assistance from the foundation, viewing it solely as an organization that hosts music festivals and other events. After talking with residents, the foundation came up with the idea of creating a platform to promote local culture, music, and arts and crafts. Together with the community, the foundation worked to raise funds to convert a dormitory facility for Taiwan Railway employees into what became the “Tiehua Music Village.”

Over the years, Tiehua Music Village has attracted international attention, especially after a number of famous artists and musicians performed at the park. In its approach to regional regeneration, Tiehua Music Village sets an excellent example for other communities.

Other speakers at the forum were Gu Yu-jun, professor of environmental studies at National Dong Hwa University and a volunteer worker and promoter of the Wu Wei Wu, and Lin Yi-ying, program leader of Taichung Township Long-term Care, who serves as an advocate for improving long-term care issues for the indigenous population in Taiwan.

Lin shared her experience working to improve long-term care issues for elderly members of the Atayal ethnic group. Besides serving as a volunteer caregiver, Lin also provides training courses for local residents interested in becoming a caregiver. She stressed the psychological rewards of seeing patients recover and helping improve the living conditions of indigenous families.

In a panel moderated by AmCham’s CSR Committee Co-chair Fupei Wang, the speakers discussed some of the challenges non-profits face due to the relatively small size of the Taiwan market – from obtaining funding to choosing the right partners – as well as difficulties posed by various laws and regulations. They urged the authorities and the private sector to work closely together to integrate resources to promote social innovation and economic development.

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Exploring Solutions to Taiwan’s Aging Society

In 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior reported that 14% of the island’s population was over the age of 65. That rate is rapidly increasing and is expected to reach 20% or higher by 2026, which could make Taiwan the world’s first “super-aged society.” Such a prospect is alarming, given the vast amount of energy and resources that would be needed to provide adequate care for the growing number of elderly.

In order to address this pressing issue, AmCham Taipei hosted the 2019 Taipei Healthy Aging Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on September 27. The forum brought together representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations, to discuss the various challenges associated with an aging society and how to effectively confront these challenges.

In his keynote speech at the forum, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, a former trauma surgeon, noted that Taiwan’s rate of aging is one of the highest in the world. Within 24 years, the number of Taiwanese over the age of 65 jumped from 7% to 14% of the general population. Ko emphasized the importance of accurate government statistics in formulating good elder-care policy, as well as the need to reform Taiwan’s pension system so as to reduce the length of time that retirees are dependent on public resources.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je

Most of the event’s speakers focused on the dire need for a public health framework that includes holistic, integrated approaches to long-term care for Taiwan’s elderly. Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health, introduced the program that his department has implemented, which incorporates improving and promoting long-term care services, encouraging healthy living practices, and increasing community involvement. This program has created a more aging-friendly environment in Changhua and can serve as a model for other cities and counties across the island.

Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health

Another topic that speakers addressed was the issue of frailty, the physiological decline that the body undergoes as a result of aging, and how it is affected by a number of environmental and social factors that can be controlled by strong healthcare policies. Participants from industry stressed the important role of public-private partnerships in creating effective long-term care solutions that utilize predictive, preventive approaches, rather than the current model of procedural intervention. Vincent Shih, assistant general counsel at Microsoft and general manager of Microsoft Greater China’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs Leadership team, gave a presentation that described how the use of big data and technology can improve the quality of health services for the elderly.

The forum included two discussion panels moderated by Dr. Kang Jaw-Jou, vice president of National Yang-Ming University, and Professor Jennifer Wang, COO of GLORIA and chair of National Cheng-Chi University’s Risk Management and Insurance Department, respectively. Panelists included Dr. Wang Ying-yue, director general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; Dr. Mark Tennyson, executive director and regional head of Value, Access and Policy for Amgen JAPAC; and Tim Shields, general manager and CEO of Cigna Taiwan Life Insurance. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman provided brief closing remarks.

The forum’s platinum sponsor was Amgen. Cigna was the silver sponsor.

From left to right: AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Joyce Lee, General Manager, Amgen Taiwan Limited; Dr. Wang Ying-yue, Director-General of Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; AmCham President William Foreman; and AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Tim Shields General Manager & CEO, Cigna Taiwan Life Assurance Company Ltd.

AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chairs Joyce Lee and Tim Shields, AmCham President William Foreman, speakers, and panelists

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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.

AmCham Taipei Celebrates 68th Anniversary

Participants in AmCham Taipei’s cocktail reception marking the 68th anniversary of the Chamber’s birth in 1951 enjoyed a spectacular view from The Penthouse on the 16th floor of the eslite Hotel. Nearly 100 attendees gathered to enjoy a delicious selection of canapés, freeflowing wine and Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch, raffle prizes, and stimulating conversation. The event on September 19 was sponsored by American Airlines.

Chamber President Bill Foreman welcomed the members and guests, and a slide show drew attention to the Chamber’s signature events and major activities over recent years. The reception ended with a lucky draw contest with prizes sponsored by the Chamber that included Sparkling Wines and Glenlivet 15 Year Old Scotch Malt Whisky.

AmCham Taipei had five member companies at its founding and has since grown to a membership of more than 500 business organizations.

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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.

AmCham Taipei Called on Taiwanese Government Leaders

AmCham Taipei delegations in recent weeks called on Taiwanese government leaders, including President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang, to brief them on the Chamber’s CEO Mission to Washington, D.C. in June. The session with the Premier was also attended by representatives of other departments within the Executive Yuan, including Minister Chen Mei-ling of the National Development Council. Other recent meetings were with Foreign Minister David Lee and Minister without Portfolio and Chief Trade Negotiator John Deng.

The AmCham delegations at the meetings were led by Chairman Leo Seewald and President William Foreman, and included other members of the Chamber leadership and staff who participated in the visit to Washington.

The briefings focused on the key objectives of this year’s CEO Mission:

  • Helping to lay the groundwork for eventual FTA negotiations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
  • Encouraging early resumption of the bilateral TIFA process, including scheduling of a TIFA Council meeting.
  • Urging the U.S. to send high-level (especially Cabinet-level) officials on visits to Taiwan more frequently.

Although the CEO Mission did not encounter any immediate breakthroughs on these issues, it came away encouraged by an increasingly positive atmosphere in Washington regarding relations with Taiwan.

Luncheon with the Kaohsiung Mayor

In an AmCham Taipei special luncheon at the Regent Taipei, Kaohsiung Mayor and Nationalist Party presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu highlighted some of the initiatives taking place in Kaohsiung and his intention to further develop Taiwan’s economy.

In his speech, Han noted that with the U.S.-China trade war heavily impacting the global economy, Taiwan needs to take this opportunity to negotiate bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with its trading partners. In particular, it is also a critical time for Taiwan to push for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the U.S.

Besides cooperating with trade allies, Han urged Taiwan to work in close collaboration with global enterprises to drive industrial development and economic growth in Taiwan. He said that some prospective foreign investors have been reluctant to commit to projects in Taiwan out of concern about future energy sufficiency. He suggested that Taiwan keep nuclear power as a viable option, as long as its safety is assured and the public supports the idea.

The mayor thanked AmCham Taipei for its longstanding support for Taiwan and continuous efforts to improve U.S.-Taiwan relations. He also praised the Chamber for providing valuable suggestions and recommendations on improving Taiwan’s business environment in the annual Taiwan White Paper. In closing, Han said that if he is elected, his government will closely examine the White Paper and work to make sure that appropriate regulatory policies are implemented.

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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.

Luncheon with the Minister of MOEA

The trade friction between the U.S. and China is causing many Taiwanese companies in China to move all or part of their operations back to Taiwan – and the Taiwan government is doing its utmost to mobilize resources to provide them with necessary assistance.

That was the key message in Economics Minister Shen Jong-Chin’s presentation to AmCham Taipei members at a Chamber luncheon meeting in the ballroom of the Regent Taipei on August 20.  Among the Minister’s key points:

  • The current situation presents a promising opportunity for Taiwan. Already the government has approved 111 investment cases from Taishang (the term for Taiwanese companies operating on the mainland) and more are coming. The government anticipates that more than 90,000 jobs will be created in Taiwan.
  • The Ministry of Economic Affairs has set up a one-stop service center under its InvesTaiwan office to ensure that interested companies receive rapid and efficient service. The government is seeking to help companies solve any problems arising from the “five shortages” of land, power, water, labor, and talent.
  • Currently land is not a big obstacle, as many of the returning companies had kept additional production facilities in Taiwan when they invested on the mainland. But it could become more of a concern if the number of returning companies rises considerably. The government is therefore preparing more industrial zones where land or factory buildings will be available on a rental basis.
  • Working through local banks, the government is also making loans available to companies at preferential rates to encourage their return or expansion in Taiwan.
  • The major sectors being affected are industrial clusters for notebook computers and other ICT products, bicycles, and auto parts. The domestic machinery industry is also receiving increased orders as a result of this trend.
  • Some of the Taishang departing China are choosing to relocate to Southeast Asian countries or India. MOEA is also using its contacts and experience to help companies moving to those areas.

Before the speech, Minister Shen also participated in a half-hour meeting to exchange ideas with representatives from several of AmCham’s industrial groups, including the Energy, Technology, and Infrastructure Committees, and the Digital Economy Taskforce.

U.S. Data Privacy Law and Legal Trends

Data privacy is becoming more important than ever as new laws are taking effect in the U.S. and across the globe. At the same time, enterprises are expected to meet data protection compliance. Organizations that are non-compliant with laws and regulations surrounding privacy protection are facing tens of millions, even billions of dollars in fines.

As business operations become more data-centric, the need for enhancing data protection and keeping sensitive information secure will continue to increase. To help companies protect against cyber security breaches, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee invited Eric Ubias, Managing Partner of Ubias Law PLLC, to discuss developing legal requirements and preventative measures at a seminar held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

Ubias introduced some of the recent U.S. Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions against large corporations, and outlined the most dangerous types of new attacks being experienced. He explained that Taiwanese companies will continue to feel the effects of increased regulatory focus on data privacy. Whether they are directly facing regulated subjects or are indirectly at risk through third-parties in the value chain, enterprises should take reasonable steps to achieve an increased level of protection. He concluded by offering a few suggestions on implementing cyber security best practices, such as ensuring that written policies and disclosures align with actual practices, conducting vendor diligence reviews, conducting training exercises, and developing incident response plans.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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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.

An American Flag Heirloom

During this U.S. Fourth of July season, AmCham Taipei is pleased to share some family lore passed along by Chamber member Faye Angevine of Bai Win Mercantile Corp. The 45-star American flag shown above was owned — and probably made — by her great-grandmother, Effie Foster, and is currently on display in the lobby of the American Club.

Faye informs us that Effie Foster, related by marriage to the great songwriter Stephen Foster, was a participant in the first Oklahoma land rush of 1889. “She traveled with her daughter (my grandmother Mildred Foster) and a group of relatives from Salem, Massachusetts, and settled in Kingfisher, Oklahoma,” Faye writes. “I found the flag folded up at the bottom of my great-grandfather’s doctor’s bag while going through my Mom’s things after her death.” The stars are hand-stitched onto the flag (appliqué), while the stripes were sewn on with a pedal machine. (Because the stars were applied to the wrong side, the flag is displayed backward).

The 45-star flag became the official flag of the United States on July 4, 1896, following the admission of Utah to the union as the 45th state earlier that year. Three presidents served under that flag: Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt. Later stars were added for Oklahoma (1907), New Mexico and Arizona (1912), and Alaska and Hawaii (1959).