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.

AmCham Taipei Called on Taiwanese Government Leaders

AmCham Taipei delegations in recent weeks called on Taiwanese government leaders, including President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Su Tseng-chang, to brief them on the Chamber’s CEO Mission to Washington, D.C. in June. The session with the Premier was also attended by representatives of other departments within the Executive Yuan, including Minister Chen Mei-ling of the National Development Council. Other recent meetings were with Foreign Minister David Lee and Minister without Portfolio and Chief Trade Negotiator John Deng.

The AmCham delegations at the meetings were led by Chairman Leo Seewald and President William Foreman, and included other members of the Chamber leadership and staff who participated in the visit to Washington.

The briefings focused on the key objectives of this year’s CEO Mission:

  • Helping to lay the groundwork for eventual FTA negotiations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
  • Encouraging early resumption of the bilateral TIFA process, including scheduling of a TIFA Council meeting.
  • Urging the U.S. to send high-level (especially Cabinet-level) officials on visits to Taiwan more frequently.

Although the CEO Mission did not encounter any immediate breakthroughs on these issues, it came away encouraged by an increasingly positive atmosphere in Washington regarding relations with Taiwan.

U.S. Treasury Officials Call at AmCham

During a mid-July visit to Taiwan, Mitchell Silk, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, met at Amcham Taipei with members of the Chamber’s infrastructure, energy, and banking committees. He was accompanied by David Gottfried, Deputy Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Investment, Energy, and Infrastructure.

The Treasury officials were visiting various countries in East Asia to explore such topics as debt market development, increasing private sector participation in public infrastructure projects, and promoting competitive procurement policies.

Before joining the government in October 2017, Silk had a 30-year legal career specializing in energy and infrastructure matters, asset management, banking and finance, especially in Asia. He speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese.

2019 CEO Mission Holds Successful D.C. Visit

AmCham Taipei’s recent delegation to Washington, D.C. came away encouraged by prospects for improved economic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

“The US-Taiwan relationship continues to move in a positive direction, and we’re optimistic about the two sides eventually resuming TIFA talks after a nearly three-year hiatus,” said Chamber President William Foreman, referring to the main channel of trade negotiations between the two countries.

“The U.S. government also appears open to considering other ways to strengthen the relationship, such as entering into negotiations on the equivalent of a chapter of a free trade agreement,” Foreman added.

AmCham is therefore urging the Taiwan government to continue to push for U.S. consideration of Taiwan as a suitable candidate for a bilateral trade agreement. Successful TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) consultations could help pave the way for such consideration.

Formerly known as the “Doorknock,” the annual trip was rebranded this year as AmCham Taipei’s “CEO Mission to Washington” to stress the delegation’s strategic and high-level nature. Conducted the week of June 17, the mission was led by Foreman together with Chamber Chairman Leo Seewald.

The group held a total of 35 meetings with executive branch agencies (including the National Security Council, State Department, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), members of Congress and their staffs, think tanks, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and others concerned with U.S.-Taiwan economic relations.

Delegation with the National Security Council

Delegation with the State Department

Delegation with the U.S. Trade Representative

The heightened frustration in the U.S. over China’s unfair trade practices has led to increased support for bolstering economic ties with Taiwan, the delegation found. At the same time, Taiwan’s restrictions on the importation of certain U.S. beef and pork products remains a serious trade irritant.

Delegation with chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, Ambassador James Moriarty

As always on the annual visit to Washington, AmCham stressed Taiwan’s economic and strategic importance for the U.S. It called attention to Taiwan’s status as America’s 11th largest trading partner, its vibrant democracy and adherence to rule of law, and deep involvement in the supply chains of leading U.S. technology companies.

AmCham Leadership Quarterly Meeting

Members of the leadership of AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan held their first quarterly meeting of the year on Feb. 14 at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room. AmCham leaders briefed AIT Director Brent Christensen and his colleagues on the results of the Chamber’s Business Climate Survey, including factors causing concern for global companies operating in Taiwan. The two sides also exchanged views on bilateral economic ties and discussed opportunities to work closely together in the coming year in observance of the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act that established AIT.

Attending the meeting from AIT Taipei were Director Christensen, Economic Section Chief Jeff Horwitz, Commercial Section Chief Helen Peterson, Agricultural Section Chief Mark Petry, and Economic Officer Phill Loosli. Representing AmCham were President William Foreman, Chairman Leo Seewald, Standing Vice Chairman Chyi-Woei Chin, Vice Chairwoman Petra Jumpers, AmCham Governor Jan-Hendrik Meidinger, AmCham Supervisor Dylan Tyson, Senior Director and Taiwan Business TOPICS Editor-in-chief Don Shapiro, and Senior Director for Government & Public Affairs Amy Chang.

AmCham Delegation Calls on new Premier Su Tseng-chang

AmCham Taipei representatives led by Chairman Leo Seewald met with Premier Su Tseng-chang on January 21 to congratulate him on his recent appointment as premier. The Premier was accompanied by National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling and other officials from the Executive Yuan.

Besides Mr. Seewald, who is the Chairman/Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Management (Taiwan) Limited, the AmCham delegation consisted of:

  • William Foreman, AmCham Taipei President.
  • Dylan Tyson, AmCham Taipei Supervisor and Insurance Committee Co-Chair, who is President & CEO of Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc.
  • Don Shapiro, AmCham Taipei Senior Director and Editor-in-Chief, Taiwan Business TOPICS
  • Amy Chang, AmCham Taipei Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs

AmCham Committees Brief U.S. Group

A U.S. team led by Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Terry McCartin arrived in Taiwan on September 11 for consultations with their Taiwan government counterparts on a variety of issues related to bilateral trade and investment. Others members of the group included Tsering Dhongthog, USTR’s Director for Taiwan Affairs, and representatives from the Departments of State, Commerce, and Agriculture.

Co-chairs and other representatives from AmCham’s Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Cosmetics, Agro-Chemical, and Intellectual Property & Licensing Committees provided the visitors with briefings on the current status of their Taiwan White Paper and other issues.

New AIT Director Meets with Board Members

Brent Christensen, the newly arrived Director of the American Institute in Taipei, met with members of the AmCham Taipei Board on Sept. 5 to discuss the U.S. government’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy as well as current trends and concerns in the technology, biomedicine, infrastructure, and healthcare sectors. Deputy Director Ray Greene and representatives from AIT’s economic, commercial, and agriculture sections also participated. Attending from the AmCham side were Chairman Albert Chang; Vice Chairman Vincent Shih; President Bill Foreman; Governors Anita Chen, Wayne Chin, William Farrell, Revital Shpangental Golan, Ed Shober, and Daniel Tseng; Supervisor Joyce Lee; and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

Economics Minister Shen Briefs AmCham

Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin called on AmCham Taipei on July 13 to brief members of the Chamber leadership on the status of 2018 Taiwan White Paper issues related to MOEA. Accompanying the Minister were officials from MOEA’s Investment Commission, Bureau of Energy, Intellectual Property Office, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign Trade, and Industrial Development Bureau.

Representing AmCham were Chairman Albert Chang, President William Foreman, Vice Chairman Vincent Shih, Governors Tim Ju and Revital Golan, Supervisor Petra Jumpers, and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

AmCham Taipei leadership with MOEA officials.

The Minister’s one-hour briefing covered the following topics:

  • Energy policy. Shen provided assurance that energy supply would be sufficient – and utility prices remain reasonable – as Taiwan transforms to an energy mix that eliminates nuclear power generation by 2015.
  • Copyright piracy by overseas websites. The government is seeking to crack down through international cooperation and reducing infringing websites’ access to advertising revenue, but is reluctant to engage in site blocking in the absence of a legal basis and public consensus.
  • Copyright Law amendments. MOEA has been consulting with stakeholders on ways to protect OTT service providers against infringement by illegal apps and websites. It will also work with the National Communications Commission and Ministry of Education on additional ways to curb the growing volume of violations through illegal streaming mobile apps and front-loaded set-top boxes.
  • The Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee’s suggestion to raise the minimum compensation to NT$30,000 per infringement for situations where the actual damage is difficult to prove. MOEA has decided to keep the minimum at NT$10,000.
  • Enhancing Taiwan’s startup ecosystem. MOEA has been liberalizing restrictions on the types of permissible corporate shareholdings. It has also been cooperating with the National Development Fund to provide more tax incentives for venture capital firms to be active in this market.
  • Expanding facilities for conferences and exhibitions. The scheduled opening next March of Hall 2 of the Nangang Exhibition Center will greatly enhance Taiwan’s capability in this field.
  • Treating investment applications by private equity (PE) firms. These investments are welcome and not considered any differently from other applications.

Minister Shen offered to meet with AmCham regularly in the future to discuss these and any other pertinent issues in more detail.