Event Recap – U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st- Century Trade in the Global Economic Landscape

On October 21, The Chamber welcomed Minister without Portfolio, Chen-Chun Deng (John) to give his perspective on the “US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade in the Global Economic Landscape.” AmCham Taiwan was honored and excited to receive an update on this pivotal topic directly from Taiwan’s lead trade negotiator, and Minister Deng did not disappoint. This Initiative will have the potential to be developed as the first true Free Trade Agreement between the US and Taiwan during his influential career – a development he’s “been waiting 30 years for.”

After a lovely lunch from our hosts at the Mandarin Oriental, Chairman Vincent Shih welcomed Minister Deng to the stage. He expressed the Chamber’s gratitude for the Minister’s continued support and cooperation in our mutual objectives.

Deng then gave a light-hearted overview of the developing free trade agreement (FTA) from the viewpoint of him and his colleagues. A theme of his address was the importance of the US-Taiwan Initiative for his office. Several factors – such as ineffectual multilateral organizations and integration into the global economy – put a lot of weight into these negotiations.

Another consideration for the ongoing discussion between Deng and his counterparts is, of course, cross-strait relations and US-China tensions. Non-Market Policies and Practices, a phrasing not seen in any other trade agreements, incorporates the U.S. focus on identifying gaps in existing enforcement tools and develop new tools to address such practices, as well as moving away from reliance on State Owned Enterprises. Another difficulty the Minster highlighted was the agriculture sector, which can be a sensitive political issue that requires careful consideration.


Minister without Portfolio John Deng answers audience questions on the approaching U.S.-Taiwan trade talks as AmCham Taiwan Standing Vice Chairperson Andrea Wu looks on.

Overall, his words for AmCham members were positive and optimistic. His aim is to treat traders better, by clarifying rules and shortening international trade procedures. He hopes to issue advanced rulings for new products, so that companies will not be delayed at customs waiting for them to be classified. “The business community should be very happy,” Deng said, in a joking manner, “and civil servants should be very worried.” He explained that processes need to be improved and the private sector should be given a role in reforming regulations. “This will be good for the country. We need to be more open and transparent.”

Minister Deng ended his address by thanking AmCham Taiwan and our members for our efforts in moving the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative forward. Through AmCham’s doorknocks in D.C., we were influential in encouraging Congress to lend its support to the FTA. “AmCham has a very strong voice (that) needs to be continued and expanded. Thank you AmCham, for your help.”

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Event Recap – 71st Anniversary Green Happy Hour

On September 29, Amcham Taiwan celebrated its 71st anniversary with an evening “Green Happy Hour” celebration at Taipei 101’s 35th-floor Sky Park. Nearly 100 guests, including familiar faces and new members, joined the event to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, and celebrate AmCham’s more than 70 years of service to the international business community. The event was possible due to the generosity of our sponsors, Taipei 101, Invisalign, SHL Medical, Moet Hennessy, and St. Finesse. 

Chairman Vincent Shih welcomed guests by reflecting on the last year as we all met the challenges of the pandemic. As Taiwan’s borders will open soon, Vincent remarked that while we are excited to travel and meet new friends abroad, there is no place like home. There is no place like Taiwan.  

After Vincent’s remarks, guests were treated to an introduction of Taipei 101’s green credentials by the landmark tower’s Chief Operation Officer Michael Liu, who shared 101’s plans to achieve WELL building standard certification. Taipei 101 is already known for its LEED Platinum certification for energy efficiency and environmentally friendly design. 

The theme of this year’s anniversary was sustainability. Guests were encouraged to write down green actions individuals and businesses could take in pursuit of a cleaner and greener future. The event came to an end after Chairman Vincent Shih and Standing Vice Chairperson Andrea Wu selected and awarded six green ideas that highlighted the importance of sustainability development and environmental advocacy. 

Chairman Vincent Shih with winners of the green ideas contest

AmCham members were delighted that it was finally possible for people to meet and gather to celebrate in person after two years of strict COVID-19 restrictions. Guests were served with fine food, free-flow Glenmorangie Original, and Glenmorangie Lasanta whiskeys, Californian red and white wines, all while enjoying magnificent views across Taipei’s skyline right outside the window 

AmCham Taiwan, the leading international business association in Taiwan for more than seven decades, serves the global business community and champions strong U.S.-Taiwan relations. We look forward to continuing this legacy for many years to come. Subscribe to our events newsletter to learn about future events first.

Event Recap – Living AmCham Taiwan Series Visit to Taoyuan

As part of our “Living AmCham Taiwan” series which visits towns and cities across Taiwan, Amcham organized a luncheon event attended by Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan in Taoyuan on September 16. We were honored to have Mayor Cheng share his vision for Taoyuan, its plans for sustainable development – including green energy, a low-carbon economy and digital transformation – as well as what the city government is doing to attract foreign investment.

Mayor Cheng highlighted that Taoyuan has undertaken several measures as part of the effort to pursue sustainable development, such as incorporating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its governance, publishing a Voluntary Local Review, and establishing a committee focusing on SDGs. He also laid out the 2030 carbon reduction pathway for Taoyuan, which includes a wide variety of policies aiming at significantly reducing the city’s carbon emissions across all industries by 2030, and ultimately reaching net zero by 2050. Mayor Cheng stressed that an overarching energy governance plan, coupled with resilient infrastructure, is necessary for a city’s energy transformation to succeed, and that is what Taoyuan is striving to do.

Mayor Cheng concluded his remarks by emphasizing Taoyuan’s advantages and potential for development and welcomed Amcham members to keep on investing in the city. He drew on several American investment cases in Taoyuan as examples where the government integrated resources to the best of its ability in a short period of time to ensure the provision of land, energy, and infrastructure, demonstrating the government’s determination in attracting companies and industries to invest in Taoyuan.

Following the speech, guests visited the Taoyuan factory of Shung Ye Motor Corporation (SYM) to learn how they have reduced the emissions of their factory by implementing energy-saving initiatives such as installing solar panels on the roofs of their buildings. We would like to thank Taoyuan City Government Secretariat for their help in arranging the visit.

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Event Recap: Living AmCham Taiwan Series Visit to Kaohsiung

On August 19 AmCham Taiwan travelled to the southern port city of Kaohsiung for the first event in a new series called “Living AmCham Taiwan”. The series will visit towns and cities across Taiwan to deepen links with local governments and learn from AmCham member companies based in those locations. The Kaohsiung event was held at the Intercontinental Kaohsiung.

We were proud to be joined by Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chi-Mai who introduced Kaohsiung’s history as an important trading port and gave guests an exciting insight into what the future holds for this city of over 2.7 million people. Kaohsiung made headlines recently as AmCham Taiwan member TSMC is constructing a new facility in the city, which will further solidify Kaohsiung’s position as a major manufacturing base. Mayor Chen told guests that when Taiwan was facing drought in 2019, it was Kaohsiung that supplied critical water supplies to TSMC in order for them to continue production. Mayor Chen emphasized that while many of Kaohsiung’s science parks are reaching capacity, new development of around 80 hectares has been secured for companies to set up in the city.

On the talent side, Mayor Chen mentioned programs at some of Kaohsiung’s leading education institutions, most notably National Sun Yat-sen University, as a critical piece of the puzzle in attracting businesses and investment to come to Kaohsiung. He also said he believes that now is the time for Kaohsiung’s youth to return to the city, as historically many have left for job opportunities in Taiwan’s north and central regions. As part of the central government’s policy of attracting return investment from Taiwanese businesses abroad, NT$500 billion (US$1.6 billion) has been invested in the city since 2019.

Mayor Chen concluded his speech by emphasizing that Kaohsiung features public transport and other infrastructure befitting a modern city, from the expanding Kaohsiung MRT and light rail network to the port facilities which have undergone major redevelopment over the past decade.

Wrapping up our visit to Kaohsiung, guests were invited to join onsite visits which were kindly arranged by Kaohsiung City Government Economic Development Bureau. We visited the Taiwan Startup Terrace, a flagship entrepreneurial hub focusing on 5G and AIoT technologies which is currently looking for new tenant companies to move in. Brogent Technologies Inc., a company that builds immersive virtual ‘flying theater’ experiences, was our second stop for a virtual tour of the USA. Guests also joined a boat tour of the Asia New Bay harbor to view the revitalization of Kaohsiung’s waterfront.

Our next Living AmCham Taiwan event will be held in Taoyuan on September 16. We do hope you can join us!

Former Ambassador Kurt Tong Briefs AmCham Leaders

When AmCham Taiwan conducts its Doorknock missions to Washington, D.C., Kurt Tong is the kind of expert on U.S. Asia policy that the delegation seeks out for advice on its dealings with the U.S. government. A former U.S. Ambassador to APEC and Counsel-General in Hong Kong, Tong is now in the private sector as a partner at The Asia Group, a Washington-based strategic advisory firm founded by Kurt Campbell, currently the Biden Administration’s top official for Asia.

In a “virtual Doorknock” necessitated by the COVID pandemic, Tong shared his views on U.S.-Taiwan relations via video conference with 18 members of the AmCham Board and staff on May 25. The topics covered included the Biden Administration’s priorities with regard to Asia policy, trade policy, and the protection of sophisticated technology supply chains. Tong encouraged the Chamber to be “forceful and direct” in communicating its advocacy agenda to the U.S. government, including the need for early resumption of the “TIFA talks” trade negotiations.  

MOEA Minister Meets with AmCham Leadership

Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua and her colleagues met with members of the AmCham Taiwan Board on April 27. The two sides exchanged views on the latest trade and economic developments between the U.S. and Taiwan. As the two partners face current global challenges together, relations between them grow even stronger. During the meeting, Minister Wang also took the time to address questions related to investment opportunities in Taiwan.

Attending from the AmCham side were Chairperson CW Chin; Standing Vice Chairperson Fupei Wang; Vice Chairperson Tim Shields; Secretary Daniel Tseng; Treasurer Angela Yu; Governors Brian Sung, Roger Yee, Justin Chin, and Cynthia Chin; Supervisors Max Chen and Seraphim Ma; AmCham Director of Government and Public Affairs Gwenyth Wang-Reeves and Manager Jack Lu.

Wrapping up the 2020 White Paper Meetings

Last week, AmCham Taiwan concluded the third and final meeting between its various industry committees and representatives of relevant government agencies to discuss progress on the 2020 White Paper issues. The meetings, coordinated by the National Development Council and presided over by NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin, were launched in 2018 as a way of increasing collaboration between the Chamber and the Taiwanese government and to push for better communication and resolution of industry and regulatory issues.

In general, the overall tone and direction of the meetings, which took place over three three-hour sessions, was positive. The benefit of having committee co-chairs and representatives make their case face-to-face with their government counterparts is that it allows for more in-depth discussion, and Minister Kung worked hard to find common ground between the two sides, at times suggesting one-one-one meetings to hammer out certain issues.

Among the highlights of the NDC meetings was the Financial Supervisory Commission’s (FSC) commitment to working with the Central Bank (CBC) to assist the Asset Management Committee with resolving its issue regarding the issuance of multi-currency funds by privately placed securities investment trust enterprise funds (SITE). In addition, the FSC noted that it will release a directive by the end of March allowing foreign institutional investors (FINI) to invest in exchange traded notes (ETN), helping to resolve one of the Capital Markets Committee’s 2020 issues.

Some of the government representatives present at the meetings expressed an openness to establishing direct channels with their private sector counterparts to continue discussing items where there appeared to be room for compromise or forward movement. Included among these items was the Technology Committee’s request that the government avoid prescriptive labeling of tech products – in particular, pre-loaded software applications on mobile devices – for cybersecurity purposes. The Chemical Manufacturers Committee also appeared to make some headway in persuading the government to consider adopting international standards for management of chemical products, as well as to work with the committee to help improve the public image of the chemical industry.

Other areas where progress appeared to be made included the Transportation and Logistics Committee’s 2020 White Paper issue regarding expanding fiscal incentives for electric vehicle buyers. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) representative cited its plans to extend the commodity tax exemption for electric vehicle purchases, which was set to expire at the end of 2021. The Intellectual Property and Licensing Committee was invited by the National Communications Commission (NCC) to join a working group composed of the NCC, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to discuss difficult IPR issues.

Not all of the discussions proceeded equally smoothly, and there were some longstanding issues that continue to require further communication between industry and the regulators. Chief among these is the Medical Devices Committee’s recommendation that the government accept the Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) audit report as a substitute for the current Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) for the review and approval of new medical devices. AmCham hopes that the relevant stakeholders of these issues can continue working together to achieve actionable solutions.

The Chamber is grateful to Minister Kung and his colleagues at the NDC for their assistance in arranging the quarterly White Paper meetings, as well as to the various government agencies for their time and willingness to communicate and work with AmCham’s industry committees. AmCham looks forward to continuing its advocacy work through its annual production of the Taiwan White Papers and its collaboration with industry and public sector partners.

AmCham and AIT Hold First Quarterly Meeting of 2021

AIT Director Brent Christensen and several colleagues from the Institute’s Economic and Commercial Sections met with Chamber representatives and staff at AmCham Taiwan’s newly renovated office on March 9. It was the first quarterly meeting to be held between the two organizations this year.

Gathering in the Chamber’s meeting room and snacking on fresh Taiwanese pineapple, the meeting’s participants discussed a wide range of topics, including prospects for resuming Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks between the U.S. and Taiwan under the newly inaugurated Biden administration. Other issue areas included the Taiwan government’s progress on some of its flagship policy initiatives, while Chamber leadership conveyed issues related to their respective industries.

Attending the meeting from AmCham’s side were Chairperson CW Chin; President Leo Seewald; Board members Tim Shields, Angela Yu, Daniel Tseng, Roger Yee, Cynthia Chyn, Max Chen, and Shelley Chia; and AmCham Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs Gwenyth Wang-Reeves, Senior Advisor Don Shapiro, and Senior Editor of Publications Jeremy Olivier. AmCham Tax Committee Co-Chairs Cheli Liaw and Heidi Liu also joined the meeting to raise the issue of a double taxation agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan.

Director Christensen was accompanied by AIT Commercial Section Chief Brent Omdahl, Economic Section Chief Danielle Andrews, Economic Section Deputy Chief Arati Shroff, and Commercial Section Deputy Chief Andrew Gately.

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.

Senator Ted Cruz Attends National Day Celebration, Meets with AmCham Taipei

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas and former presidential candidate, became the first U.S. senator in 35 years to attend Taiwan’s National Day celebrations when he visited Taipei on Oct. 9-10. The senator’s visit was part of a swing through the region that also included Japan, India and Hong Kong. After observing the National Day festivities, Senator Cruz had lunch with AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald and President William Foreman. Also attending was Brent Christensen, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan. Topics of discussion included business opportunities for U.S. companies in Taiwan, the country’s relations with China and the outlook for Taiwan’s economy.