New Minister of Science and Technology Addresses Luncheon Meeting

Recently appointed Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong has high hopes for Taiwan’s technology industry. On July 15, Minister Wu spoke at an AmCham Taipei luncheon, titled “台灣2030 – 邁向智慧國家 Taiwan 2030 – Striding Toward a More Innovative Country” at the W Hotel, where he outlined his vision of the future for the island’s tech sector, developing Taiwan into a “sustainable human-centric smart nation.” He emphasized that improvements to the tech sector should also improve Taiwan as a whole.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption and affected planning for the future in countries around the world. Nevertheless, Minister Wu is focusing on what Taiwan will be able to accomplish with technology. His presentation at the luncheon covered four main areas:

  • Challenges and opportunities: An aging society, rapid digital transformation, and declining natural resources, among other trends will make a well-developed circular economy and inclusive society especially important in the coming years.
  • Preparing Taiwan for the Digital Age: Furthering the government’s goals for industrial upgrading and structural reform as part of its 5+2 Innovative Industries initiative.
  • Industrial innovation, digital transformation: From 5G to renewable energy, Taiwan is gradually becoming adept at balancing development with sustainability. The usage of drones for agricultural purposes and a growing reliance on AI technology has demonstrated Taiwan’s ability to build on its existing strengths.
  • Building toward a “smart sustainable nation”: The 5+2 initiative and Minister Wu’s new plan to target six core areas for future development both seek to position Taiwan on the world stage as a key economic power. By focusing on advanced network foundations, precision health initiatives, and satellite communications, Taiwan will be able to reach its goals by 2030.

Minister Wu emphasized the importance of industry integration, both domestically and internationally. Collaboration at each level is critical to technological development; otherwise, industries are destined to fail. Nevertheless, he expressed optimism that Taiwan’s tech sector would continue to make great strides in the future.

Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong, AmCham President William Foreman, and co-chairs from AmCham Digital Economy Committee and Technology Committee.

 

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New FSC Chairman Outlines His Goals and Plans

Although just month into his new role as Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), Huang Tien-Mu (黄天牧) has a clear vision for his organization. On June 29, the former FSC Vice Chairman Huang spoke at an AmCham joint committee luncheon about the agenda FSC would cover on his watch.

As Taiwan faces numerous financial issues, including challenges arising from the aging of the society and the need for its financial institutions to embrace fintech, Huang listed four main goals for his mission statement: strengthen financial resilience, push for innovation, develop a long-term financial strategy, and diversify a low-barrier entrance market. To achieve these goals, he laid out a six-step plan:

  1. Long-term business planning – increase the availability of English-language information and reports on companies with listed stocks.
  2. Green finance – a new version is in the works to drive greater contributions from the financial sector.
  3. Fintech advancement blueprint – FSC will propose a new development plan that targets the foundations of open banking, information sharing, etc.
  4. Insurance and debt – motivate Taiwan’s insurance industry to comply with international standards.
  5. Trust industry – beyond money trusts, trust service providers are encouraged to offer a variety of programs.
  6. Financial security – reinforce information security, which is critical to the development of Fintech.

Huang said he will follow a business model that includes gaining respect, building trust, and enabling transparency between the financial sector and the public. The overall goal is to be sustainable and financially inclusive.

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Advice for Human Resources in Special Times

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have implemented remote working. This new work style has created ambiguity in the field of labor regulations.

On April 7, AmCham Taipei’s Human Resources Committee hosted a webinar with two speakers with expertise in this area: Christine Chen, who heads Winkler Partners’ employment practice, and Heather Hsiao, a partner at Eiger Law and an experienced attorney and speaker on employment issues. This webinar was AmCham Taipei’s first online event. The two labor experts offered a list of guidelines regarding work-from-home:

  • Working hours – use electronic communication applications, such as email, LINE app, etc. to record working time.
  • Equipment – employers have an obligation to provide necessary equipment for employees to properly work remotely.
  • Quarantined workers – companies are required to prevent quarantined employees from being at work. The quarantine period cannot be counted as any type of leave. Neither can it be the reason for lay-off.
  • Wages – employees working remotely shall receive the same wages as working in the office, provided other working conditions remain the same. For quarantined workers, employers are encouraged but not obliged* to maintain regular salaries during a quarantine period. Companies that maintain normal salary payments will be eligible for tax reductions.

*If employers are not the reason for the quarantine.

 

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Liver Health Takes Center Stage at Annual Forum

The second annual U.S.-Taiwan Liver Health Forum kicked off the morning of November 15, 2019 at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel. This year’s forum was a collaboration between AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) as part of its [email protected] campaign. November has been themed Innovation and Entrepreneurship Month for the campaign, a fitting background for the forum, where a series of presenters and panelists discussed Taiwan’s continuing work towards becoming a “Liver Health Center of Excellence in Asia.”

As with last year’s event, opening remarks were provided by Vice President Chen Chien-jen. An epidemiologist by training whose past research focused on the control of Hepatitis B, Chen briefed the audience on the history of liver health progress and Hepatitis B management and treatment in Taiwan. He pointed to the substantially reduced risk of cirrhosis, Hepatitis C, and liver cancer in children immunized against Hepatitis B.

AIT Acting Director Raymond Green also gave brief remarks, praising Taiwan as a regional leader in liver health and noting that cooperation on this area is one of the great innovative efforts between the U.S. and Taiwan.

In the lead-off presentation, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung shared slides illustrating Taiwan’s success in decreasing the prevalence of Hepatitis B, as well as the government’s push to eradicate Hepatitis C in Taiwan in advance of the World Health Organization’s 2030 target. Dr. Chen Ding-Shinn of Academia Sinica elaborated on this plan, noting that Taiwan is in a good position to meet this WHO Sustainable Development Goal by 2025. Dr. Pwu Raoh-Fang, MOHW’s National Hepatitis C Program Office Director, noted that public health precision and integrated, localized prevention and treatment approaches will be needed to meet the objective.

Other presenters included Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health; Dr. Kao Jia-Horng, president of the Taiwan Association for the Study of the Liver; and Dr. Huang Yi-Hsiang, chief of the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division at Taipei Veterans General Hospital.

Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Association spoke on NHI coverage for Taiwan’s national virus prevention and treatment programs, which reached nearly 40% in 2018. He and other speakers emphasized that cooperation among physicians, the NHIA, and industry have contributed to Taiwan’s leading position in the treatment of HCC liver cancer.

The first panel, moderated by General Manager Ramanathan Velayutham of Abbvie International Taiwan, discussed how Taiwan can reasonably achieve its goal of eliminating Hepatitis C on the island by 2025. Two other panel discussions rounded out the forum, moderated by Gilead Sciences General Manager Pongo Peng and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Mark Horng, respectively.

Besides the presenters and moderators, panelists included Dr. Wang Ying-wei, Director-General of MOHW’s Health Promotion Administration; Dr. Chien Rong-Nan, vice superintendent of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Linkou branch; Dr. Yang Pei-Ming, CEO of the Good Liver Foundation; Dr. Lin Shi-Ming, chairman of the Taiwan Liver Cancer Association; and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Managing Director Rie Nakajima. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman provided closing remarks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platinum sponsors for this year’s forum were Abbvie, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, and Gilead. MSD was a silver sponsor.

 

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AmCham Representatives Meet with U.S. Patent Trademark Office Officials

Two ranking officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – Senior Counsel for China IP Policy Michael Mangelson and Senior Quality Advisor Anthony Caputo – paid a visit to AmCham Taipei on November 8  to learn more about intellectual property issues currently faced by companies operating in Taiwan. The meeting was attended by representatives from six Chamber member companies, including IPR Committee Co-chair Peter Dernbach of Winkler Partners.

During the meeting, attendees discussed digital piracy and copyright issues, especially regarding the dissemination in Taiwan of pirated content hosted on servers in other jurisdictions. Another major topic was the protection of trade secrets in light of the number of Taiwanese engineers being poached by Chinese tech companies.

Mangelson mentioned that during the 1980s, he had been an intern at a law firm in Worldwide House, the same building that houses the AmCham Taipei office. The firm, Huang & Partners, was also the former workplace of Tsai Ing-wen, who was a partner specializing in international economic law.

New Co-chair Awards – Recognizing Impactful Leadership

Many of the most important people at AmCham Taipei are the committee co-chairs. They are the ones who lead the organization’s 25 industry committees – the backbone of our advocacy mission that aims to make Taiwan’s business environment more open, innovative and prosperous. Each year, the co-chairs spend hours and hours writing e-mails, briefing policymakers, holding meetings and molding a consensus with their peers on issues that are vital to our businesses.

The Board of Governors has decided it’s time to formally recognize the most impactful co-chairs. With recommendations from the AmCham staff, the Board will select two co-chairs who will receive awards at the Annual General Meeting on Nov. 19. The selection criteria will include:

  • Catalyzing activity with regular committee meetings, strategic goals, innovative tactics and efficient execution.
  • Engaging with Taiwanese and U.S. policymakers on a regular basis and achieving results through substantive engagement.
  • Organizing events that raise the organization’s profile and advance the mission.
  • Joining the CEO Mission to Washington.

Fostering Innovation through Community Development

Taiwan is currently facing issues such as shrinking population, aging society, low birth rates, and an imbalance in urban and rural development. In order to address these issues, the Taiwanese government has launched the Regional Revitalization Program.

Every year AmCham Taipei’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee hosts a forum to enhance members’ understanding of topics relating to social programs and environmental concerns. To raise awareness about the Regional Revitalization Program, the committee held a forum entitled “Fostering Innovation through Community Development” at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on October 2.

This year experts from the Lovely Taiwan Foundation; Taichung Township Long-term Care Foundation; and Wu Wei Wu, a learning center for socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers in remote villages in Hualien County, were invited to discuss current trends regarding corporate social responsibility and how the private sector can help promote regional revitalization.

Li Ying-ping of the Lovely Taiwan Foundation recalled that following the 2009 typhoon that devastated mountainous areas of Taitung County, villagers originally were hesitant to accept assistance from the foundation, viewing it solely as an organization that hosts music festivals and other events. After talking with residents, the foundation came up with the idea of creating a platform to promote local culture, music, and arts and crafts. Together with the community, the foundation worked to raise funds to convert a dormitory facility for Taiwan Railway employees into what became the “Tiehua Music Village.”

Over the years, Tiehua Music Village has attracted international attention, especially after a number of famous artists and musicians performed at the park. In its approach to regional regeneration, Tiehua Music Village sets an excellent example for other communities.

Other speakers at the forum were Gu Yu-jun, professor of environmental studies at National Dong Hwa University and a volunteer worker and promoter of the Wu Wei Wu, and Lin Yi-ying, program leader of Taichung Township Long-term Care, who serves as an advocate for improving long-term care issues for the indigenous population in Taiwan.

Lin shared her experience working to improve long-term care issues for elderly members of the Atayal ethnic group. Besides serving as a volunteer caregiver, Lin also provides training courses for local residents interested in becoming a caregiver. She stressed the psychological rewards of seeing patients recover and helping improve the living conditions of indigenous families.

In a panel moderated by AmCham’s CSR Committee Co-chair Fupei Wang, the speakers discussed some of the challenges non-profits face due to the relatively small size of the Taiwan market – from obtaining funding to choosing the right partners – as well as difficulties posed by various laws and regulations. They urged the authorities and the private sector to work closely together to integrate resources to promote social innovation and economic development.

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Exploring Solutions to Taiwan’s Aging Society

In 2018, Taiwan’s Ministry of the Interior reported that 14% of the island’s population was over the age of 65. That rate is rapidly increasing and is expected to reach 20% or higher by 2026, which could make Taiwan the world’s first “super-aged society.” Such a prospect is alarming, given the vast amount of energy and resources that would be needed to provide adequate care for the growing number of elderly.

In order to address this pressing issue, AmCham Taipei hosted the 2019 Taipei Healthy Aging Forum, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on September 27. The forum brought together representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organizations, to discuss the various challenges associated with an aging society and how to effectively confront these challenges.

In his keynote speech at the forum, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, a former trauma surgeon, noted that Taiwan’s rate of aging is one of the highest in the world. Within 24 years, the number of Taiwanese over the age of 65 jumped from 7% to 14% of the general population. Ko emphasized the importance of accurate government statistics in formulating good elder-care policy, as well as the need to reform Taiwan’s pension system so as to reduce the length of time that retirees are dependent on public resources.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je

Most of the event’s speakers focused on the dire need for a public health framework that includes holistic, integrated approaches to long-term care for Taiwan’s elderly. Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health, introduced the program that his department has implemented, which incorporates improving and promoting long-term care services, encouraging healthy living practices, and increasing community involvement. This program has created a more aging-friendly environment in Changhua and can serve as a model for other cities and counties across the island.

Dr. Yeh Yen-Po, director of Changhua County’s Department of Health

Another topic that speakers addressed was the issue of frailty, the physiological decline that the body undergoes as a result of aging, and how it is affected by a number of environmental and social factors that can be controlled by strong healthcare policies. Participants from industry stressed the important role of public-private partnerships in creating effective long-term care solutions that utilize predictive, preventive approaches, rather than the current model of procedural intervention. Vincent Shih, assistant general counsel at Microsoft and general manager of Microsoft Greater China’s Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs Leadership team, gave a presentation that described how the use of big data and technology can improve the quality of health services for the elderly.

The forum included two discussion panels moderated by Dr. Kang Jaw-Jou, vice president of National Yang-Ming University, and Professor Jennifer Wang, COO of GLORIA and chair of National Cheng-Chi University’s Risk Management and Insurance Department, respectively. Panelists included Dr. Wang Ying-yue, director general of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; Dr. Mark Tennyson, executive director and regional head of Value, Access and Policy for Amgen JAPAC; and Tim Shields, general manager and CEO of Cigna Taiwan Life Insurance. AmCham Taipei President William Foreman provided brief closing remarks.

The forum’s platinum sponsor was Amgen. Cigna was the silver sponsor.

From left to right: AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Joyce Lee, General Manager, Amgen Taiwan Limited; Dr. Wang Ying-yue, Director-General of Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration; AmCham President William Foreman; and AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chair Tim Shields General Manager & CEO, Cigna Taiwan Life Assurance Company Ltd.

AmCham Public Health Committee Co-Chairs Joyce Lee and Tim Shields, AmCham President William Foreman, speakers, and panelists

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U.S. Data Privacy Law and Legal Trends

Data privacy is becoming more important than ever as new laws are taking effect in the U.S. and across the globe. At the same time, enterprises are expected to meet data protection compliance. Organizations that are non-compliant with laws and regulations surrounding privacy protection are facing tens of millions, even billions of dollars in fines.

As business operations become more data-centric, the need for enhancing data protection and keeping sensitive information secure will continue to increase. To help companies protect against cyber security breaches, AmCham Taipei’s Technology Committee invited Eric Ubias, Managing Partner of Ubias Law PLLC, to discuss developing legal requirements and preventative measures at a seminar held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

Ubias introduced some of the recent U.S. Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions against large corporations, and outlined the most dangerous types of new attacks being experienced. He explained that Taiwanese companies will continue to feel the effects of increased regulatory focus on data privacy. Whether they are directly facing regulated subjects or are indirectly at risk through third-parties in the value chain, enterprises should take reasonable steps to achieve an increased level of protection. He concluded by offering a few suggestions on implementing cyber security best practices, such as ensuring that written policies and disclosures align with actual practices, conducting vendor diligence reviews, conducting training exercises, and developing incident response plans.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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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.

Health Minister Addresses Luncheon Meeting

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung addressed a range of topics related to healthcare policy in Taiwan in his remarks at an AmCham Taipei luncheon meeting at the Sherwood Taipei on July 19. The event was jointly sponsored by the Chamber’s Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, and Public Health Committees.

In his speech, Minister Chen stressed the government’s efforts to strengthen and expand long-term care services for Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, including programs to train more personnel to help care for the elderly and to provide those specialists with better salaries. The objective is to ensure that the aged can live in as much comfort and dignity as possible. He also covered the need for increased emphasis on prevention through vaccination and other means, efforts to reduce doctor-patient disputes through malpractice insurance and no-fault compensation, and the progress achieved in drafting new medical device legislation.

During Q&A, he praised the role of multinational companies in helping to raise standards in healthcare industries and expressed the Ministry’s openness to evaluating how additional forms of therapy, such as chiropractic, can contribute to the health and well-being of the population. Chen said that no single specialty ever has all the answers. Noting that “cooperation is the root of success,” he said he is always willing to listen to other people’s point of view.

Before the luncheon, the Minister met with leaders of the three sponsoring committees. Among the topics discussed were government policy on new-drug funding and procedures for assessing new medical-device technologies. Accompanying the Minister were Director General Lee Po-Chang of the National Health Insurance Administration and Director General Wu Shou-Mei of Taiwan’s Food & Drug Administration.

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