The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has had a major impact on the business community in Taipei. To provide members with the latest information regarding safety and relief measures for companies operating in Taipei, AmCham hosted a webinar on June 18 with Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun and Commissioner for External Affairs Ambassador Tom T.C. Chou. Joining them were Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs Adam Yi and Taipei City Hospital Deputy Chief Superintendent Hsu Chia-Chen. The event was moderated by Microsoft Taiwan’s General Manager of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Vincent Shih.
In his opening remarks, Deputy Mayor Tsai noted that the recent outbreak brought many challenges to Taipei and impacted the economy, particularly the hotel and service industries. By balancing pandemic prevention and economic assistance, Taipei City Government has largely mitigated relevant risks. Tsai stressed the importance of contact tracing and expressed optimism regarding Taiwan’s ability to keep infection rates low until a majority of the population has been vaccinated. He also extended his gratitude to the U.S. government for their donation of vaccines to Taiwan.
During the Q&A session, Yi informed members that the Taipei City government has offered relief measures for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as support for revitalization and adaptation to “the new normal.” Furthermore, foreigners who have lived in Taipei for at least one year can apply for government subsidies. Yi also noted that loans for SMEs, which are distributed from the National Development Fund and the Small & Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund (SMEG), are available to both local and foreign firms.
Regarding vaccinations, Tsai said that Taiwan was expecting good news regarding international deliveries and referred attendees to the list of vaccination priority groups to determine whether they are eligible for their shot. The government is currently designing an English-language version of Taipei’s vaccine registration system to accommodate the approximately 70,000 foreigners living in Taipei.
Answering a question about school policies during the pandemic, Ambassador Chou stressed the volatility of the current situation but noted that Taipei schools will reopen in September, either in-person or online, regardless of the pandemic situation. Currently, 170,000 students in Taipei are taking online classes, and the government supports underprivileged students by providing them with laptops, tablets, sim cards, and routers on an as-needed basis.
Closing the event, AmCham Taiwan President Andrew Wylegala thanked Taipei City Government for answering the members’ questions and stressed the importance of continued dialogue between government and industry, particularly during the pandemic.
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