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.