AmCham Taiwan members have shared with the Chamber office mounting concerns about their companies’ inability to secure entry visas for short-term business travel to, and long-term assignment in, Taiwan.
Our office hears of similar “doing business” difficulties from counterparts in the European, Japanese, and domestic chamber communities, that are also reflected in the “White Papers,” issued by several of our fellow chambers. In response we drew up four questions that AmCham Taiwan put to our 400 voting members, while the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (JCCIT) put the same questions to 500 of their members, 11/23-12/3. Of 900 firms queried, just under 10% of AmCham members responded and just under 30% of the Japanese firms did so.
The surveys revealed the following impact on the respondents from June 2021 to date:
- 68% of AmCham and 73% of JCCIT firms have had their business hurt to some extent or a large extent by the inability to obtain business visas.
- Over 2,200 individuals connected to the members of the two chambers have been unable to secure business visas for Taiwan.
- Travel blockage has, or will impede, over US$400 million in transactions.
- At least 22 investment projects have been or will be canceled or diverted from Taiwan by the inability to travel here.
To help resolve this problem, AmCham suggests the following broad measures be considered:
- BOLSTER THE TAIWAN ECONOMY – weight business travel alongside student, migrant worker, family travel, etc. Recognize that the cost of lost business is primarily borne by Taiwan companies and employees.
- ADHERE TO TRANSPARENCY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION – streamline applications and ensure a transparent, process with nearly automatic approval for bona fide business travel, without respect to industry sector or company.
- MAINTAIN PREDICTABILITY, UNDER A FLEXIBLE, RISK-BASED SYSTEM – grant visas rapidly, up to progressive caps that respond real-time to public health conditions, with published milestones (e.g., vaccination levels) or tripwires (ICU admissions, critical illnesses).
AmCham Taiwan is NOT calling for the immediate reduction or elimination of testing, quarantine, or other public health regulations for any entrants. NOR is AmCham calling for a full-scale travel opening that would result in a surge or sustained increase in entrants beyond levels which authorities deem prudent.
Our request is for a clear, measured policy that protects public health during pandemic (or epidemic) conditions without causing undue damage to Taiwan’s business environment and economic interests.