A reminder of Taiwan’s local laws related to controlled substances

Over the last several months, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has seen an increase in arrests related to possession of marijuana. The U.S. citizen community in Taiwan should be aware that penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs (including marijuana) in Taiwan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Taiwan also has the death penalty for certain drug offenses. Law enforcement in Taiwan treats all drug violations very seriously.

The AIT would like to remind all U.S. citizens in Taiwan of the guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel.state.gov website on Taiwan’s local laws, particularly as these laws relate to controlled substances.

Please visit U.S. Department of State’s website at:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/taiwan.html 

Learn about the dangers of drug use abroad, please visit:
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/drugs.html

For information on arrest or detention of a U.S. citizen abroad: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/emergencies/arrest.html

Carnival Cruise Style – All in Corporate Travel

Carnival Cruise put on a workshop event, “Cruise Style – All in Corporate Travel” (食尚生活享遊輪 一兼二顧的企業旅遊) at the AmCham Lincoln Room on February 15th, to share how the transformation of consumption habits and lifestyle has impacted travel demands. Alex Cheng, Assistant Manager of Princess Cruises, explains how global cruise trips can meet the travel demand for food, accommodation and fun with carefully customized destinations and high cost-effectiveness.

Nowadays, people are drowned in daily life and work, and cruises allow travelers to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take Princess Cruises for example, the cruise itself is a tourist destination with a variety of entertainment on board to keep guests satisfied, regardless of age and gender. In addition, numbers of ports on the trip can provide you with brand new vision and experience of the harbor city in a completely different manner.
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Carnival Cruise team in “Cruise Style – All in Corporate Travel” at the AmCham Lincoln Room.

Besides, cruise tour, an all-inclusive travel is the first choice for corporate travel as bonuses for employees. Princess Cruises has the world’s most popular routes and especially the harbor cities of Japan and Korea preferred by Taiwanese people. It is highly praised for its availability of short-term voyage and favorable prices, rich and diversified entertainment on board and in-depth shore sightseeing. Also, Princess Cruises owns ample space and brilliant facilities to meet the demand of planning meetings, events and cocktail parties. With cruise tour, it is possible to arrange a corporate travel that is both fun and within budget, while rewarding the employees and strengthening the cohesion to achieve a higher productivity.

Interested in participating in AmCham Taipei Marketplace to promote, showcase, elevate your brand, products and services? Learn more about how the Marketplace works, click here.

About Carnival

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Today, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world, renowned for innovative ships, an array of onboard options, and an environment of exceptional customer service. A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess carries 1.7 million guests each year to destinations around the globe ranging in length from three to 114 days, allowing them to see the world and come back new. During the past three years, voyages from Keelung has double growth every year; this year sailing length from Keelung and Kaohsiung is 172 days with 42 voyages, create a new record in Taiwan travel market.

Join AIT and Director Moy for a U.S. Citizen Town Hall

AIT Director Kin Moy would like to invite U.S. Citizens to a town hall on Wednesday, February 15th at 6:00pm at The Taipei American School (TAS). Director Moy will answer your questions and discuss AIT’s role in Taiwan in promoting U.S.-Taiwan relations.

AIT will also share information about the services they provide for U.S. citizens, and consular officers will be on hand to provide off-site notarial services and accept passport renewal applications.*

Who: All U.S. citizen travelers/residents are invited, so tell your friends!
This event will be off the record. No filming or recording, please.

When: Wednesday, February 15th at 6:00pm (please plan to arrive at TAS at 5:30pm
as you will have to pass through TAS security before entering the school grounds)

Where: The Taipei American School Small Theater
(2nd floor– follow the signs from the main entrance)
No. 800, Section 6, Zhongshan N Rd, Shilin District, Taipei
There is no campus parking available, but there are several public lots in the vicinity.
Please consider taking public transportation.

Please RSVP by Monday, February 13th to [email protected] A U.S. passport will be required for entry.

*AIT will only provide the services listed above. For all other services, please visit:
https://acs.ait.org.tw/en/scheduling-appointments.html

2016 AmCham Internship Reflections: Part 3

AmCham Summer Interns Reflect on their Experience

Each summer, AmCham Taipei’s Publications and Communications Department offers internships to several outstanding students at foreign universities to serve on the Taiwan Business TOPICS or help with the Chamber’s website and posts on social media. We asked members of the 2016 contingent to share their thoughts about the experience. 

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Florian Paschka, Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

One and a half years ago, I had to make a decision where to go on my exchange year abroad. One region which was always very interesting to me happened to be East Asia. I decided to go to Taiwan and to study at National Taiwan University. I had a great time getting to know a new culture.

Taiwan offers countless opportunities to travel within the country and abroad due to its central location. Two of the nicest places I have been to in Taiwan were Sun Moon Lake and Taroko National Park. The areas not only offer astounding hikes and excellent destinations best reached by scooter, but also a lot of cultural aspects with aboriginal tribes living there. During my time in Taiwan, I also sought to experience other countries and traveled to Japan, Singapore, China, Thailand and the Philippines. Every place had their own advantages. For example, I enjoyed Tokyo’s busy nightlife and the Philippines’ remote islands and beautiful beaches.

After studying and traveling, I wanted to experience what working in an Asian country feels like. AmCham offered me the opportunity to work in its communications department. I enjoyed the friendly and open company culture and got along well with the other interns also working there at the same time. My main responsibility included analyzing the performance of the website and the social media channels, as well as posting articles on the website and creating marketing emails. My supervisor was very flexible and gave me tasks in the areas I enjoyed most. Moreover, I always got support if I had any questions. The internship was a great end to an amazing year abroad.

2016 AmCham Internship Reflections: Part 2

AmCham Summer Interns Reflect on their Experience

Each summer, AmCham Taipei’s Publications and Communications Department offers internships to several outstanding students at foreign universities to serve on the Taiwan Business TOPICS or help with the Chamber’s website and posts on social media. We asked members of the 2016 contingent to share their thoughts about the experience. 

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 Alexander Melnik, University of Southern California

Spending two months in Taiwan was an unforgettable experience. This summer, I interned for AmCham as a Digital Media and Publications intern and had the chance to contribute to several projects. One of these was the AmCham blog, where I wrote posts, created graphics, and publicized content on social media. I also attended several important events, including AmCham’s White Paper luncheon and an international energy conference. Additionally, I examined Taiwan’s social atmosphere through a TOPICS article in which I explain Taiwan’s progressive LGBT stance and the prospects of marriage-equality legislation.

A highlight of my experience was getting lunch every day with fellow interns and AmCham team members. Taipei is filled with many restaurants, so there were some weeks when I went to a new place every day! These lunch breaks were a great time to try new foods, get to know co-workers, and explore Taipei. I also enjoyed attending AmCham events, such as the presentation on CRISPR, a cutting-edge biotechnology that could completely revolutionize how we combat cancer and diseases.

This internship has left me with a great impression of Taiwan as a wonderful environment in which to visit, work, and live. I can’t think of another place with such delicious and inexpensive food – especially boba (bubble tea)! – extremely friendly people, and an abundance of scenery and culture. I look forward to coming back in the future!

 

2016 AmCham Internship Reflections: Part 1

AmCham Summer Interns Reflect on their Experience

Each summer, AmCham Taipei’s Publications and Communications Department offers internships to several outstanding students at foreign universities to serve on the Taiwan Business TOPICS or help with the Chamber’s website and posts on social media. We asked members of the 2016 contingent to share their thoughts about the experience. 

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Nina Sheridan, Princeton University

I arrived in Taiwan in June after my freshman year at Princeton with an interest in journalism and love of the Chinese language. I was assigned an article my first day of work, and from there was given freedom to do my own research, set up interviews, and form opinions on the state of the fashion design industry in Taiwan. I made my first phone call in Chinese the second week, and by the end of the summer I felt comfortable talking to taxi drivers in the language on my way to and from interviews.

Throughout my eight weeks working on AmCham’s TOPICS magazine, I was given the opportunity to explore in depth the design and fast-food industries. I also sat in on talks about the future of virtual reality, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, and Taiwan’s energy sector. I transcribed interviews on subjects ranging from CrossFit to MOOCs (massive open online courses) to wind energy.

Every day at work I learned something new about Taiwan. I ate lunch at a different place almost every day with the other interns. I moved from hostel to hostel and continuously explored new neighborhoods. Working at AmCham showed me how industry, Chinese language, and journalism can intersect. I didn’t know what to expect when I came to Taiwan, but I feel truly lucky to have spent two months learning about Taiwan’s culture and economy.

 

“Disco Fever” at the American Ball 2016

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The Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei rocked with a disco beat on the evening of October 29 as the American Ball, co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), again confirmed its reputation as the social event of the year for the Taipei international community.

The theme of “Disco Fever” was evident in the attire of the nearly 400 attendees (many of whom had evidently dug through drawers and closets to find garments with a ‘70s flair), the glitzy décor of the room thanks to the work of the Feng Ze Design Center, the creative entertainment routines devised by the VMJ dance troupe, and the choice of music by energetic vocalist Dooley and his band, DJ Rick Kraft, and the talented husband-and-wife, song-and-dance team of Richard Lin and Cindy Shueh Lin (both former AmCham board members).

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The Master of Ceremonies was Mark Lewis, taking a break from his day job at the AIT Commercial Section, and AmCham Acting Chair Libby Driscoll and President Andrea Wu, accompanied by AIT Director Kin Moy and Deputy Director Rob Forden, greeted the attendees on behalf of the host organizations.

The evening began with a welcoming drink of Bottega Brut Millesimato sparkling wine courtesy of Fratello F&B Int. Ltd. The gourmet five-course meal that followed featured a deconstructed Cobb salad, lentil soup with smoked duck, Isphahan sorbet, roasted U.S. beef tenderloin with wagyu beef patty, and a Funky Ball containing dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut, and popcorn. The dinner was accompanied by Caruso Cusora Bianco Sicilia and Manin Reforsco Rosso wines (from Fratello) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo). Cocktails and Guinness stout were available at the bar.

View the full photo gallery here.

 

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The event was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies. These included Grand Prix Sponsor United Airlines; Glitter Sponsor Volkswagen LCV Taiwan; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Fratello; Gold Sponsors HSBC, Grand Hyatt Taipei, and Versum Materials; Silver Sponsors Abbott, BlackRock, Corning, and McDonald’s; and Décor Sponsor JTI.

Attractive raffle prizes added to the excitement of the evening. The grand prize was two United Airlines business-class tickets to San Francisco combined with a three-night stay at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Other gift sponsors were 3M, Ever Rich, Fox International, Grand Hyatt, Hotel Eclat Taipei, The Landis Taipei, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Palais de Chine, The Place Tainan, Procter & Gamble, Regent Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, The Sherwood Taipei, and Westin Taipei.

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Special Event – Countdown to the US Election

For those expecting fireworks, the AmCham’s Special Luncheon, “Countdown to the 2016 US Presidential Election,” on Oct 19, might have been a disappointment. Rather than political discord, attendees were instead treated to reasoned analysis of the U.S. presidential campaign and its possible ramifications on U.S. policy toward Asia by two keen observers of U.S. politics and Asia policy: William A. Stanton, Founding Director, the Center for Asia Policy (CAP), National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and former AIT Director; and Ross Feingold, Senior Adviser at DC International Advisory.

Moderated by Paul Cassingham, Senior Legal Consultant at Eiger as well as a former AmCham Chairman and current Government Relations Committee Chair, the luncheon featured 15-minute presentations by each of the speakers, followed by Q&A and open discussion.

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William A. Stanton, Founding Director, the Center for Asia Policy (CAP), National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and former AIT Director, presents his analysis of the US election’s potential impact in Asia.

Stanton’s presentation, The U.S. Presidential Election and What it Means for Asia, focused on four key areas:

  • U.S. Policy toward China
  • U.S. Policy towards Taiwan
  • the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • and the South China Sea

He noted that both of the candidates talked tough on China, with Trump’s criticisms primarily economic while Clinton’s were more broadly aimed at China’s poor human rights record, its growing military might, accusations that China is wielding an army of cyber-attackers aimed at the United States, and its lack of democracy.

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Ross Feingold, Senior Adviser at DC International Advisory, presented a broader overview of the election process up to this point.

Feingold, who identified himself as a Republican who does not support Trump, focused more broadly on the bruising primary and presidential campaigns and how each candidate has fared. He noted that while recent email leaks and other public relations disasters have resulted in low public approval for Clinton, Trump’s approval ratings are in the basement, resulting in a distinct advantage for Clinton. Feingold also said that the Democratic Party’s platform remains focused on the “One-China” policy, while the Republican Party platform is more detailed and more supportive of Taiwan.

Participants joined in a lively discussion over what the election might mean for Taiwan, including the chances of the TPP being passed under either candidate. Stanton and Feingold concurred that although both candidates expressed disapproval for the TPP, Clinton would more likely re-open negotiations for the Pacific-wide trade agreement. Regarding another issue of concern for U.S. expats in Taiwan, Clinton has expressed support for the FATCA exemption on bank reporting. The Trump campaign has said nothing on this matter.

AmCham Taipei Marks 65th Anniversary

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AmCham Chairman Dan Silver (left), AIT Deputy Director Robert Forden (center), and AmCham President Andrea Wu toast on stage to celebrate the 65th anniversary of AmCham Taipei

With a gala reception attended by nearly 100 members and guests, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on Sept. 22 celebrated the 65th anniversary of its establishment. The event was held at the Taipei 47 restaurant on the 47th floor of the Cathay Landmark building, offering attendees spectacular views of nighttime Taipei.

In brief remarks, AmCham Chairman Dan Silver highlighted some of AmCham’s key achievements over the past year, including the highly successful 2016 “Doorknock” visit to Washington, D.C. in mid-June and its advocacy efforts on behalf of more transparency and public engagement in the Taiwan government’s process for drafting new laws and regulations.

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Another new development for AmCham Taipei was the expansion of its physical space to open its own well-equipped conference facility, the Lincoln Room, one floor below the main AmCham office. So far, the Lincoln Room has served as the venue for Chamber events such as press conferences, government visits, luncheons, workshops, seminars, happy hours, and marketplace sessions, and it is also available for rental by member companies and others.

Silver also called attention to the offering of digital versions of the contents of the Chamber’s popular monthly publication, Taiwan Business TOPICS.

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Representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Deputy Director Robert Forden expressed appreciation for AmCham’s longstanding efforts to strengthen economic relations between Taiwan and the United States. He cited the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper as providing excellent reference for both the Taiwan and U.S. governments regarding the needs of multinational businesses operating in Taiwan.

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Paul Cassingham on Taiwan’s Path to TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multinational trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim nations that has significant implications for Taiwan’s economic future.

One of AmCham Taipei’s top priorities this year is encouraging the Taiwan Government to coordinate its efforts towards meeting the standards required for TPP accession – an initiative emphasized in the 2016 AmCham White Paper.

Paul Cassingham, Senior Legal Consultant at Eiger as well as AmCham’s former Chairman and current Government Relations Committee Chair, has studied the TPP’s text with the aim of gaining a clearer understanding of exactly what impact the trade deal might have on Taiwan, if it comes into effect.

On August 16, he presented his findings to an audience at the AmCham Lincoln Room, at a Chamber event titled “TPP: Opportunities and Challenges for Taiwan”.

A brief summary of key points is available below.

Cassingham also authored an article on TPP for TOPICS Magazine, the Chamber’s monthly publication, which goes into greater detail on the issues Taiwan faces. Read it here:
“Taiwan’s Restrictions on PRC Investment – A Sleeping TPP Issue?”

This year’s AmCham Taipei Doorknock delegation also stressed the importance – for both Taiwan and the U.S. – of Taiwan entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when it expands beyond the original 12 members. Read a full report here:
2016 “Washington Doorknock” Focuses on TPP

 

Highlighted points from Mr. Cassingham’s presentation:

Taiwan & TPP Background

  • TPP Signatories include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.
  • Taiwan would be the 6th largest and 4th wealthiest economy in the TPP if it joined
  • Main trade benefit of TPP would be the reduction or elimination of most import duties among TPP economies

Why Join? 

  • If Taiwan doesn’t join TPP, it would be unable to compete with TPP exporters that benefit from reduced import duties
  • The negative impact is multiplied for Taiwan’s intermediate goods exports (70% of total)

Some Areas of focus for Taiwan

  • Improving procedures for technical regulations and reduction of technical barriers to trade. For example:
    • TPP members must publish proposed regulations 60 days in advance for public comment
    • TPP members must respond to significant issues raised regarding proposed regulation
  • Foreign investors must be allowed to remit investment cash freely into and out of Taiwan.
  • Cross-strait relations may play a role in whether or not Taiwan can gain entry into the TPP

AmCham Taipei offers its sincere thanks to Paul Cassingham for his time and effort spent studying the TPP text, and for presenting his findings to Chamber guests and community members.