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.

AmCham Meets with Washington Visitors

Over breakfast at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on June 13, members of the AmCham Taipei leadership met with Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs Marie Royce and other U.S. dignitaries who were in Taiwan for the dedication ceremony of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) office complex.

Besides Assistant Secretary Royce, the visitors included Caroline Casagrande, Special Advisor to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs; Washington-based AIT Chairman James Moriarty; AIT Washington Managing Director John Norris; and State Department Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Office of Taiwan Coordination Director Jim Heller. From AIT in Taipei, Economic Chief Jeff Horwitz and Deputy Economic Chief Mike Pignatello also attended.

The group was welcomed by AmCham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang; AmCham President William Foreman; Former AmCham Chairman Thomas H. McGowan; AmCham Board members Joyce Lee, Tim Shields, and Daniel Tseng; AmCham Senior Director Don Shapiro; and AmCham Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs Amy Chang.

The breakfast discussion centered around the recent progress in AmCham’s White Paper issues, as well as opportunities for expanding educational and cultural exchanges between Taiwan and the United States.

Meeting with U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

Members of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission visited AmCham Taipei on May 21 to learn more about how Taiwan was faring amidst the recent flurry of news surrounding U.S.-China relations. The delegation exchanged views with AmCham representatives in an hour-long meeting in AmCham’s Lincoln Room as part of the Commission’s annual visit to Taiwan, during which it also met with many high-profile government offices, NGOs, and think tanks.

Created by the U.S. Congress in 2000, the bipartisan Commission’s mandate is to monitor and investigate national security and trade issues between the United States and the PRC.

This year’s group was led by Vice Chairperson Carolyn Bartholomew and also included  Commission delegation also included  commissioners Roy Kamphausen, Jonathan Stivers, Larry Wortzel, and  Katherine Tobin, as well as Michelle Ker, policy analyst in economics and trade, and Jacob Stokes, policy analyst in security and foreign affairs.

Former AmCham Chairman Thomas McGowan, of the law firm Russin & Vecchi, led the conversation, and was joined by AmCham President William Foreman, Senior Director of Government Affairs Amy Chang, and Taiwan Business TOPICS Associate Editor Tim Ferry.

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) representatives Jeff Horwitz, Phill Loosli, and Toy Reid joined the wide-ranging discussion, which touched on a number of topics including the consequences of China’s pressure on the Tsai administration and trade relations between Taiwan and the United States.

Commerce Department Officials Call at AmCham

Ian Paul Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing in U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, exchanged views with AmCham Taipei representatives during an hour-long meeting in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on March 22 as part of his six-day visit to Taiwan. Steff was joined by two colleagues: International Trade Specialist Kyle Johnson and Devin A. Horne, Civil Nuclear Trade Specialist.

The AmCham attendees included President William Foreman, Standing Vice Chairman Leo Seewald, Vice Chairman Vincent Shih, Governor Edward Shober, President Wayne Chin and Vice President Richard T.C. Chen of Pacific Engineers & Constructors, Senior Director Don Shapiro, and Senior Director for Government and Public Affairs Amy Chang. Ireas Cook, chief of the Commercial Section at the American Institute in Taiwan, and Mark Lewis, the deputy chief, also attended.

Steff said the U.S. government sees many economic opportunities in Taiwan because of the numerous mutual interests, including such sectors as biotech, energy, and the Internet of Things.