The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan held its 53rd annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on April 21 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.
A transcript of the chairperson’s remarks is as follows (as prepared for delivery):
President Tsai, AIT Director Christensen, Distinguished Guests, and Chamber Members:
Good evening and welcome to AmCham’s 53rd annual Hsieh Nien Fan, our first such event as the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan! On behalf of the Board of Governors and our 1,000-plus Members, I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this evening possible. Let’s give them a round of applause for all their hard work!
It’s my pleasure to be with you once again tonight as we celebrate another successful year as the most impactful and influential international business organization in Taiwan. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the world, it’s been a challenging time for everyone. We are very fortunate to be here in Taiwan, where – thanks to President Tsai and the tireless efforts of public health and other government officials – the economy is thriving, and people are able to move freely and go about their lives. Which is further exemplified here tonight, as we’ve been able to keep our unbroken record of holding the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet every year for 53 years. In fact, I hear it’s easier to get allocation for Automobile Chips from TSMC than a table at our sold-out event.
All joking aside, we are also here to celebrate Taiwan’s stellar economic achievement despite the pandemic. While the economies of countless countries worldwide continue to suffer, Taiwan is one of the few economies that has been expanding with strong GDP growth of 2.98% last year and even higher growth forecasted for 2021 of more than 4%. Covid has redefined the way we work and communicate – which in turn has benefited many industries where Taiwan plays a leading role in the global supply chain. Nowhere is this more evident than in Taiwan’s semiconductor, technology and ICT sectors – in particular, local silicon-producing giants such as TSMC, UMC, and even US-based Micron. We hope that as Taiwan basks in this golden moment of international attention and prestige, these pillars of its economic success can continue to innovate and expand, propelling Taiwan toward the future it deserves.
The Chamber is extremely pleased with the increasingly warm relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, with many positive signals of support coming from the recently inaugurated Biden administration. We hope to keep moving forward in our efforts for greater economic cooperation between the two partners, whether through the resumption of TIFA talks, a double taxation agreement, or our ultimate goal of a U.S.-Taiwan BTA.
I’m particularly grateful for the enduring relationship we have maintained with the Taiwan government. Thanks to the coordination efforts of Minister Kung Ming-hsin 龔明鑫 and his National Development Council, we recently concluded a productive series of meetings between the Chamber’s industry committees and their relevant government agencies to discuss the 2020 White Paper issues. As we move closer to the June deadline for our 2021 Taiwan White Paper, I hope that we will have an opportunity to break last year’s record of 11 issues resolved!
As you can all see reflected in the audience here tonight, we have reached a new level of government engagement this year. Among you sit approximately 160 government officials and representatives. They come from a wide range of agencies and roles, showcasing the close working relationship and broad official support the Chamber enjoys.
I’d like to thank former Vice President 陳建仁Chen Chien-jen and chief deputy representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Hoshino Mitsuaki, for their first-time attendance at the Hsieh Nien Fan. And a warm welcome back to Presidential Office Secretary-General David Lee, National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo, Shen Jong-chin, and Legislative Yuan Secretary-General林世嘉 Lin Shih-chia.
We are also happy to have, for the first time in AmCham’s history, representatives from Taiwan’s six special municipalities attending this event. Thank you to Taoyuan Mayor 鄭文燦Cheng Wen-tsan, New Taipei Mayor 侯友宜 Hou You-Yi and the Deputy Mayors of Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung for coming tonight. We deeply appreciate your friendship and support and hope you will continue to join us on this special occasion in the years to come.
As we dine and enjoy each other’s company here tonight, I would like to give special mention to Leo Seewald, who stepped in as interim AmCham President last fall on short notice. During his productive tenure, Leo led the Chamber through our name change from “AmCham Taipei” to “AmCham Taiwan,” which we believe better reflects our brand and the diverse membership we represent. Leo also helped oversee the total renovation of AmCham’s office.
We are very grateful for Leo’s admirable stewardship during such a dynamic period, setting the stage for our new President, Andrew Wylegala, who joins us after a decorated 29-year career at the US Dept of Commerce, facilitating US Trade, investment and Business development abroad. Andrew looks forward to utilizing his network and experience with the US government to further the US/Taiwan relationship. He is eager to begin work on making Taiwan even more competitive through support of the 2030 bilingual nation policy, Sovereign wealth fund initiative, and of course all of your White Paper issues!
Finally, during last year’s HNF dinner, President Tsai mentioned to me how she rarely is able to enjoy dining out due to her extremely busy schedule, which is why we are deeply honored to have her as our guest and keynote speaker again tonight. The main purpose of Hsieh Nian Fan is to provide the Chamber with a unique way of “thanking” Government officials for their hard work and the close partnership we enjoy. Thank you, President Tsai, for once again joining us as our keynote speaker tonight – a tradition that every president has honored the chamber with since Lee Teng-hui delivered the first presidential keynote speech at the 2000 AmCham Hsieh Nien Fan.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Madame President Tsai Ing-wen to the podium…
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