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).

A Panel Sharing Election Insights

Taiwanese voters will be casting their ballots next January 11 in what is widely considered to be the most consequential presidential election in Taiwan’s history. To help Chamber members better understand the implications of the election, AmCham Taipei will be organizing a series of events at which political analysts will present their views.

The first such event took place July 17 at a luncheon meeting at the Regent Taipei. AmCham President William Foreman moderated a panel discussion featuring Alexander Chieh-cheng Huang, Associate Professor at Tamkang University’s Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies; former AIT Director William A. Stanton; and Stephen Yates, CEO of DC International Advisory.

Among the key points emerging from the discussion:

  • The major issues deciding the election will be a combination of cross-Strait relations, the state of the economy, and various social issues.
  • President Tsai Ing-wen’s bid for reelection is benefiting from the hard line being taken by Beijing on such matters as the Hong Kong extradition law and the crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang. The PRC aggressiveness makes it harder for the KMT to defend the “One China” position of the 1992 consensus.
  • The incumbent generally enjoys a certain advantage in being able to attract media attention and launch policy initiatives. Also to Tsai’s advantage is that the current Taiwan-U.S. relationship is better than it has ever been.
  • KMT candidate Han Kuo-yu, the recently elected mayor of Kaohsiung, is highly charismatic and appeals to a segment of the population that is anti-elite and blames the establishment political leaders of the past for having failed to deliver.
  • If Mayor Ko Wen-je enters the race, he can likely count on support from many young people, even though his policy positions tend to be rather vague.
  • Tsai is expected to have the edge in a two-way race. Three-way competitions are much more complicated and difficult to call.

U.S. Treasury Officials Call at AmCham

During a mid-July visit to Taiwan, Mitchell Silk, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, met at Amcham Taipei with members of the Chamber’s infrastructure, energy, and banking committees. He was accompanied by David Gottfried, Deputy Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Investment, Energy, and Infrastructure.

The Treasury officials were visiting various countries in East Asia to explore such topics as debt market development, increasing private sector participation in public infrastructure projects, and promoting competitive procurement policies.

Before joining the government in October 2017, Silk had a 30-year legal career specializing in energy and infrastructure matters, asset management, banking and finance, especially in Asia. He speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese.

Health Minister Addresses Luncheon Meeting

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung addressed a range of topics related to healthcare policy in Taiwan in his remarks at an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting at the Sherwood Taipei on July 19. The event was jointly sponsored by the Chamber’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, and Public Health Committees.

In his speech, Minister Chen stressed the government’s efforts to strengthen and expand long-term care services for Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, including programs to train more personnel to help care for the elderly and to provide those specialists with better salaries. The objective is to ensure that the aged can live in as much comfort and dignity as possible. He also covered the need for increased emphasis on prevention through vaccination and other means, efforts to reduce doctor-patient disputes through malpractice insurance and no-fault compensation, and the progress achieved in drafting new medical device legislation.

During Q&A, he praised the role of multinational companies in helping to raise standards in healthcare industries and expressed the Ministry’s openness to evaluating how additional forms of therapy, such as chiropractic, can contribute to the health and well-being of the population. Chen said that no single specialty ever has all the answers. Noting that “cooperation is the root of success,” he said he is always willing to listen to other people’s point of view.

Before the luncheon, the Minister met with leaders of the three sponsoring committees. Among the topics discussed were government policy on new-drug funding and procedures for assessing new medical-device technologies. Accompanying the Minister were Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Administration and Director General Wu Shou-Mei of Taiwan’s Food & Drug Administration.

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. 

2019 CEO Mission Holds Successful D.C. Visit

AmCham Taipei’s recent delegation to Washington, D.C. came away encouraged by prospects for improved economic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

“The US-Taiwan relationship continues to move in a positive direction, and we’re optimistic about the two sides eventually resuming TIFA talks after a nearly three-year hiatus,” said Chamber President William Foreman, referring to the main channel of trade negotiations between the two countries.

“The U.S. government also appears open to considering other ways to strengthen the relationship, such as entering into negotiations on the equivalent of a chapter of a free trade agreement,” Foreman added.

AmCham is therefore urging the Taiwan government to continue to push for U.S. consideration of Taiwan as a suitable candidate for a bilateral trade agreement. Successful TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) consultations could help pave the way for such consideration.

Formerly known as the “Doorknock,” the annual trip was rebranded this year as AmCham Taipei’s “CEO Mission to Washington” to stress the delegation’s strategic and high-level nature. Conducted the week of June 17, the mission was led by Foreman together with Chamber Chairman Leo Seewald.

The group held a total of 35 meetings with executive branch agencies (including the National Security Council, State Department, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), members of Congress and their staffs, think tanks, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and others concerned with U.S.-Taiwan economic relations.

Delegation with the National Security Council

Delegation with the State Department

Delegation with the U.S. Trade Representative

The heightened frustration in the U.S. over China’s unfair trade practices has led to increased support for bolstering economic ties with Taiwan, the delegation found. At the same time, Taiwan’s restrictions on the importation of certain U.S. beef and pork products remains a serious trade irritant.

Delegation with chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, Ambassador James Moriarty

As always on the annual visit to Washington, AmCham stressed Taiwan’s economic and strategic importance for the U.S. It called attention to Taiwan’s status as America’s 11th largest trading partner, its vibrant democracy and adherence to rule of law, and deep involvement in the supply chains of leading U.S. technology companies.

Corning Hosts AmCham Taipei Field Trip

Corning Display Technologies, one of Taiwan’s largest foreign investors, played host on July 12 to an AmCham Taipei field trip to its high-tech glass manufacturing plant in the Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung. A group of 25 AmCham members and staff got the chance to see the highly automated, continuous process in which glass for smart phones, computer screens, and TVs is formed, cut, washed, and packaged.

In a briefing prior to the tour, Daniel Tseng, president of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan, stressed the importance of constant innovation in enabling the New York-based parent company to be a technology leader throughout its 168 history. On the average, the company annually invests an unusually high 8-10% of revenue in research and development.

Highlights of the Corning history include production of the glass for the first electric lightbulb, invented by Thomas Edison in the 1870s; the first television picture tubes; breakthroughs in optical fiber that have made modern communications possible; and the ultra-strong Gorilla Glass that protects many mobile devices.

Corning has invested nearly US$5 billion in Taiwan, and about 10% of the company’s 45,000 worldwide workforce is located on the island. Corning Display Technologies is one of the few foreign-invested companies in Taiwan that include R&D, design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales and marketing in a fully integrated operation.

Besides the Taichung site, Corning Display also manufactures glass at facilities in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan. It also maintains administrative offices and the Corning Advanced Technology Center in Taipei, as well as a research center on the campus of the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Hsinchu.

Future areas for the company’s development include glass and ceramics for the automotive, life science, and mobile consumer electronics industries.

Given the non-stop glass-making operation that works around-the-clock, 365 days a year, Tseng emphasized the importance for Corning Taiwan of a stable and sufficient electric-power supply.

Understanding China’s Environmental Policy Within Today’s Context

AmCham Taipei hosted Alex Wang, professor of law at the University of California at Los Angeles, in a seminar-style discussion at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on July 11. Wang gave an overview of China’s environmental regulations and legal and political institutions, as well as introducing his own predictions for China’s environmental outlook over the next century. Seminar participants were able to ask questions in an intimate setting with one of the world’s most prominent experts in this field.

Attendees included media professionals, academics, students, and industry representatives.

Wang noted that over the past 10 years, China has had an increasingly high concentration of PM2.5 particles compared to other countries. These tiny particles are particularly damaging to human health. He demonstrated an interactive platform that uses satellite imagery to allow the viewer to see global PM2.5 concentrations live here. Participants could note the high concentration of PM2.5 in and around eastern China.

Wang attributed the rapid increase in air pollution in China since the early 2000s to the country’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, which spurred huge growth in industrial production. But although China is a large polluter in nominal terms, in terms of per-capita pollution its CO2 emissions are substantially lower than those of the U.S., he pointed out. Wang also noted that approximately one-third of China’s emissions are caused by production for export to the U.S., European Union, and Japan.

Sharing the effects of decreased air pollution during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when motor traffic was curtailed and factory operations suspended, he cited one study that found that women who gave birth a month after the Olympics had significantly healthier babies.

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

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.