Toward a Practical Framework for Business Visa Issuance that Helps Taiwan Prosper, Re-engage and Attract Talent

AmCham Taiwan members have shared with the Chamber office mounting concerns about their companies’ inability to secure entry visas for short-term business travel to, and long-term assignment in, Taiwan.


Our office hears of similar “doing business” difficulties from counterparts in the European, Japanese, and domestic chamber communities, that are also reflected in the “White Papers,” issued by several of our fellow chambers. In response we drew up four questions that AmCham Taiwan put to our 400 voting members, while the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (JCCIT) put the same questions to 500 of their members, 11/23-12/3. Of 900 firms queried, just under 10% of AmCham members responded and just under 30% of the Japanese firms did so.


The surveys revealed the following impact on the respondents from June 2021 to date:

  • 68% of AmCham and 73% of JCCIT firms have had their business hurt to some extent or a large extent by the inability to obtain business visas.
  • Over 2,200 individuals connected to the members of the two chambers have been unable to secure business visas for Taiwan.
  • Travel blockage has, or will impede, over US$400 million in transactions.
  • At least 22 investment projects have been or will be canceled or diverted from Taiwan by the inability to travel here.


To help resolve this problem, AmCham suggests the following broad measures be considered:

  1. BOLSTER THE TAIWAN ECONOMY – weight business travel alongside student, migrant worker, family travel, etc. Recognize that the cost of lost business is primarily borne by Taiwan companies and employees.
  2. ADHERE TO TRANSPARENCY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION – streamline applications and ensure a transparent, process with nearly automatic approval for bona fide business travel, without respect to industry sector or company.
  3. MAINTAIN PREDICTABILITY, UNDER A FLEXIBLE, RISK-BASED SYSTEM – grant visas rapidly, up to progressive caps that respond real-time to public health conditions, with published milestones (e.g., vaccination levels) or tripwires (ICU admissions, critical illnesses).


AmCham Taiwan is NOT calling for the immediate reduction or elimination of testing, quarantine, or other public health regulations for any entrants. NOR is AmCham calling for a full-scale travel opening that would result in a surge or sustained increase in entrants beyond levels which authorities deem prudent.


Our request is for a clear, measured policy that protects public health during pandemic (or epidemic) conditions without causing undue damage to Taiwan’s business environment and economic interests.



2021 Annual General Meeting Advances Digital, Chamber Transformations

For the first time, AmCham held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) online on November 16. The meeting headline was the resounding approval of the Merger Plan to transform AmCham Taipei into AmCham Taiwan, a process begun almost a year ago at our last AGM. To underscore the significance of the occasion, over 200 participants heard remarks from two special guests: American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States Representative Hsiao Bi-khim. AmCham Chairperson CW Chin, President Andrew Wylegala, and Senior Director of Finance & Administration Jessica Chen summarized the Chamber’s achievements and status, which include the largest financial surplus in a decade, as well as the largest number of members in our 70-year history. Chin announced the founding of AmCham’s newest industry committee covering semiconductors. Finally, an update to the Chamber’s Articles of Association was approved.


Remarks by VIP Guest Speakers

In remarks warmly congratulating AmCham Taiwan, Representative Hsiao noted how significant the Chamber’s contributions have been to the U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relationship. Furthermore, its policy recommendations have greatly enhanced Taiwan’s business environment. Hsiao also emphasized Taiwan’s strong desire to achieve a Bilateral Trade Agreement through close collaboration with AmCham.

AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, in turn, underscored the closeness of the AIT-AmCham relationship, exemplified by the number of Chamber events she has recently joined, or will join in the coming weeks. She then provided a comprehensive overview of leading initiatives and sectors of shared interest, singling out public health and medicine, semiconductors, smart mobility, 5G, and cybersecurity as fields meriting the closest attention through our private-public partnership.


Practicing resilience to keep business moving

Taking NGOs and for-profit companies online for governance meetings is new in Taiwan. Like “the making of laws and sausage,” the behind-the-scenes work of producing a first-of-its-kind virtual meeting under strict oversight is best observed at a distance, if at all. The determined staff of AmCham Taiwan had to overcome innumerable challenges, which included a rare internet outage at our building a mere 15 hours before meeting’s initiation, and the challenge of ensuring voting procedures worked for users joining via desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Identifying and documenting voting participants and achieving our mandated quorum were challenges, but ones that, pulling together, we surmounted.


With a lot of help from our friends  

AmCham could never have navigated the complexities of still-evolving regulator guidelines without the extensive pro bono support of law firm member Winkler Partners. We are also grateful to Cisco for providing us with a robust platform for the webinar, Deloitte for auditing our balloting, Grant Thornton for providing financial advice, and Baker McKenzie for a hand with revising our Articles of Association.


Election Results

This year’s AGM was separated from voting for the 2022 Board of Governors and Supervisors, which was accomplished entirely by mail for the first time. The election results can be viewed here.

The 14 staff members of AmCham Taiwan wish to express gratitude for the support received throughout this year of challenge and change from the current Board. We also congratulate the incoming Board, and the Board candidates, who continue to impress and inspire us with their drive, can-do spirit, and volunteerism.


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.

AmCham Hosts Luncheon with Hsinchu Mayor

Hsinchu City Mayor Lin Chih-chien spoke to members and guests this week at the W Taipei for AmCham Taiwan’s third “Meet the Mayor” luncheon. 

Photo Credit: Hsinchu City Government

Lin began by speaking about his lifetime association with Hsinchu. Born and raised in Hsinchu, the mayor has seldom left the city, except for vacations. He discussed how his lifelong desire to better Hsinchu led him to his current position as mayor. 

Lin conveyed four of Hsinchu’s major characteristics to the audience. The city, he noted, has a high per capita income, the highest birth rate of the island’s other cities, a very educated citizenry, and a very low average age of 39 years old. Consequently, Lin’s government has a very unique approach to governing the city, placing an emphasis on the needs of its young population. 

Photo Credit: Hsinchu City Government

Lin went on to describe the city government’s ongoing priorities. The mayor’s office has been leading the construction of several schools, parks, hospitals, kindergartens, and other public attractions such as zoos. Construction of Hsinchu’s children’s hospital, funded through a BOT (build-operate-transfer) arrangement, will be completed in April 2022. Lin also hopes to create more public areas such as the 竹科X coworking space, and to hold community events such as the Hsinchu Arts Festival.  

Photo Credit: Hsinchu City Government

Moreover, at 300 years, Hsinchu is one of Taiwan’s oldest cities. Mayor Lin hopes to renovate historic buildings in Hsinchu to promote tourism, attract new residents, and elevate the quality of life for the city’s residents. 

Finally, Lin expressed his hope to consolidate Hsinchu City and County, which would make business and administration more efficient, and in so doing, attract more talent and business. 

Photo Credit: Hsinchu City Government


Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

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.

Timely News for non-American Citizen Members of AmCham Taiwan Planning U.S. Travel

The Chamber has noted the United States’ “COVID-19 fully-vaccinated mandate” for non-U.S. citizens seeking to enter the United States as non-immigrants.  Per AmCham Taiwan understanding, this is a uniform global policy, so, after November 8, almost no exceptions will be entertained to allow for entry of non-U.S. citizens who are not fully vaccinated with a WHO- or USFDA-approved vaccine. Accordingly, members (or their employees or business partners) in this category may wish to accelerate their planned travel.  AmCham will continue to relay updates as we learn of them.  Official information can be found at:  Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel


[Updated] AmCham Taiwan Rises to the Pandemic Challenge: Board Election by Mail and Annual General Meeting Online.

  • First-ever return-by-mail ballot for Board of Governors and Supervisors mailed to you 10/7.
  • This year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Nov. 16, 9am, adds in consideration of Merger Plan and updates to Articles of Association.

Dear AmCham Voting Member:

I hope this letter finds you, too, heading back to your office as Taiwan progresses toward a safe, productive exit from the pandemic. (AmCham staff returned to full office attendance on Monday!).   In this busy year-end season we ask you to support your Chamber with two essential member duties: (1) selecting Board leadership and (2) fulfilling our AGM obligations which, this year, include transforming into a larger, more impactful Chamber: AmCham Taiwan.  We need your participation to meet our quorum of voting members and, then, to finalize with your vote the merger that has been underway for a year.

 On our election, we are proud to bring for your consideration a full slate of talented leaders to take our expanding Chamber into its 71st year.  Please carefully review the “Meet the Candidates” document (Attachment #1) as you finalize your choices. To make life simpler in a year complicated by COVID, the Board of Governors decided at its September meeting to implement the 2020 Board Election via a mail-back written ballot. You will find below a graphic showing how to vote. The votes will be tabulated and certified by our certifying body, Deloitte Taiwan  (Thank you for your assistance, valued member, Deloitte!) at the November Board meeting with the election results shared with membership soon thereafter. The ballot, itself, is contained in Attachment #2. After completing it, please send your ballot to Deloitte in the postage-paid envelope that we have provided no later than Nov 8th.

Secondly, we are in the final phase of legally merging our legacy organization, AmCham Taipei, into our new entity, AmCham Taiwan, under Ministry of Interior auspices. To accomplish the merger, we must transfer each membership through a process covered.  The return of that document will serve to communicate acceptance of your resignation from AmCham Taipei, simultaneously transferring your membership to AmCham Taiwan. This process will seamlessly port your account to the new organization, such that you will not encounter any additional liabilities nor lose credits in the transfer.

Our Chamber excels year in and year out through the hard work of committee co-chairs, board members, individual members and pro bono service and in-kind supporters of this Chamber, all on a volunteer basis.  (In fact, some of my staff also feel that they qualify for this “volunteer” category, as well…).  This is an important time to pause and express deep appreciation to two of such countless, generous members:  Winkler Partners has donated scores of hours of painstaking legal work to guide us through this unprecedented NGO re-registration process in Taiwan, while a Board Supervisor and other friends from Baker McKenzie have provided invaluable assistance in strengthening our Articles of Association. Grant Thornton has provided extra services as our consultant on transition finances.  Deep thanks to all four of those organizations from your grateful Chamber!

If you have any questions regarding any of these year-end procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Chen at [email protected], or me, on 2-2718-8226, ext. 621.



Andrew Wylegala


Building Momentum for a Taiwan-U.S. BTA

The current unprecedented opportunities for business and technological cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. was the theme of a Taiwan-U.S. Business Roundtable this morning co-organized by the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, Taiwan (CNAIC) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan. The event was held at the Palais de Chine Hotel.

In his opening remarks, CNAIC Chairman Por-Fong Lin recalled that a year ago this month the two sponsoring organizations issued a joint statement calling on the American and Taiwan governments to begin negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement (BTA). He noted that subsequent developments have improved the environment for taking that step and increased its importance.

Echoing that sentiment, AmCham Chairman CW Chin referred to the current situation as a “special moment in the relationship” between the two countries. The challenges presented by the COVID pandemic only brought them closer together, with Taiwan donating some 10 million surgical masks to the U.S. and the U.S. helping to provide Taiwan with much needed vaccines.

Another positive development – recent revival of the bilateral TIFA process for trade and investment negotiations after a five-year hiatus – was cited by Jen-Ni Yang, Deputy Trade Representative of Taiwan’s Office of Trade Negotiations. Bureau of Foreign Trade Director General Cynthia Kiang stressed the increasingly close cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. in helping maintain strong and stable supply chains.

A keynote speech by Professor Philip Yang of National Taiwan University, a former Deputy Secretary General of Taiwan’s National Security Council, discussed other favorable trends, including signs that as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy the U.S. is paying greater attention to Taiwan’s strategic value. At the same time, he noted pressures arising from the growing U.S.-China economic competition, especially in the technology sphere.

In a roundtable discussion moderated by Regent Taipei Executive Chairman Steven Pan, business executives from both domestic and multinational companies contributed their expertise regarding the industries regarded as having the greatest potential for collaboration between U.S. and Taiwan companies – semiconductors and other ICT/5G-related products, medical technology and other healthcare items, electric vehicles (EV), and the energy and chemical sectors.

Pan summarized the panel’s key recommendations as follows:

  • The Taiwan and U.S. governments should regularly coordinate regarding industrial policy and promote strategic public-private partnerships on critical supply chains for the ICT 5G, medical technology, and EV sectors.
  • U.S. companies should leverage Taiwan’s sophisticated manufacturing platform to create a regional technology hub for Asia.
  • Taiwan and the U.S. should take advantage of the Taiwanese talent pool in both Taiwan and the U.S. in support of a manufacturing renaissance.

The semiconductor field is considered particularly promising for U.S.-Taiwan cooperation because of the complementary nature of the industries on the two sides, said John Chen, Senior Director of the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC) of the Institute for Information Industry. Taiwan is strong in the foundry and packing/testing segments, while the U.S. historically dominates the design and marketing functions.

A session moderated by Peter Huang, Secretary General of the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei, featured a special presentation by AmCham Taiwan President Andrew Wylegala introducing the concept of a Taiwan Commercial Initiative (TCI). The Initiative would seek to promote a series of concrete steps that hopefully would lead to a BTA.

A corollary initiative was set out by former AmCham Chairman and President Leo Seewald, who advocated conclusion of a bilateral tax agreement between Taiwan and the U.S. to increase certainty for business, boost investment, and reduce tax disputes.

Closing remarks by the two business organizations emphasized their commitment to continue working together to achieve the goal of upgrading bilateral economic relations through a BTA.









  • 台灣與美國政府應定期合作,針對資通訊、5G、醫療科技及電動車等關鍵產業,商討政策,並促進公私部門策略聯盟。
  • 美國企業應善用台灣成熟的製造產業,作為亞洲地區的科技中心。
  • 台灣與美國雙邊應善用台灣人才,以活化製造產業。





AmCham Taiwan Hosts 2021 White Paper Press Conference

AmCham Taiwan held a virtual press conference on June 23 to announce the release of its 2021 Taiwan White Paper. The online event was hosted by AmCham Chairperson CW Chin and the Chamber’s new president, Andrew Wylegala, and was joined by around 30 members of the local and international media, as well as several government officials and Chamber members.

Chin opened the event by highlighting the importance of the White Paper and its 25-year history as an advocacy document representing the interests of the Taiwan business community, as well as a platform for the Chamber to articulate its vision for U.S.-Taiwan bilateral economic relations. Chin then introduced AmCham Taiwan’s new President, Andrew Wylegala, a veteran U.S. foreign service officer in the Department of Commerce.

In his remarks, Wylegala touched on key elements of this year’s White Paper, such as AmCham Taiwan’s multi-track advocacy strategy and the newly launched Taiwan Commercial Initiative (TCI), featured in the publication’s Messages to Washington section. In addition to restarting the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Talks, the TCI urges the U.S. government to continue and expand the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, launch public-private partnerships involving industry and government agencies on both sides, and include Taiwan in plurilateral talks between the U.S. and other regional partners. It culminates in negotiations for a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement.

See the full 2021 Taiwan White Paper presentation:

Chin concluded by stressing the need for Taiwan to adapt to the evolving world economy by accelerating digital transformation, increasing bilingualism, and addressing energy concerns. In addition, Chairperson Chin also highlighted that nearly 40% of the 2020 White Paper issues have been resolved or achieved significant progress – a new record for the publication.

During the media Q&A session, Wylegala emphasized that the Chamber will continue to support its member companies with resources and advocacy services should Taiwan extend the current Level 3 restrictions. Chin added that AmCham will strive to represent the interests of foreign-owned small and medium-sized businesses in Taiwan through its annual White Paper and other channels.

Regarding the much-anticipated TIFA talks, set to take place shortly, Wylegala said that he expects good progress as previous major trade impediments, such as Taiwan’s ban on the import of certain U.S. meat products, have now been cleared and new challenges, such as supply chain resilience, are being discussed.

AmCham Bids Farewell to AIT Director Brent Christensen

Although the ongoing Level 3 pandemic restrictions prevented an in-person meeting, AmCham Taiwan leadership and AIT were able to connect virtually this week for their regular quarterly meeting. It was a somewhat bittersweet gathering as AIT Director Brent Christensen, whose tenure has seen many positive developments in U.S.-Taiwan relations and who has forged a particularly strong connection between AIT and AmCham, will soon be leaving his post. The meeting was thus an opportunity for everyone to say goodbye to the director and express their gratitude for his admirable stewardship over the past few years.

Nevertheless, the mood was celebratory as Board members recalled positive interactions with Director Christensen and asked him thought-provoking questions about rapidly warming U.S.-Taiwan economic ties, as well as opportunities for Taiwan to enhance its international presence. The group discussed the exciting announcement last week that the U.S. and Taiwan will soon be resuming Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks, as well as the promised donation to Taiwan of 750,000 vaccines from the U.S.’ surplus supply.

AmCham Taiwan thanks Director Christensen for his years of service at AIT and his efforts in highlighting the critical role Taiwan plays in the world economy, as well as its importance to U.S. economic interests in the region. As he has repeatedly stated in recent years, the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan is one of “real friends, real progress.” AmCham looks forward to working closely with his successor to continue enhancing that relationship and ensuring that Taiwan remains a great destination for investing and doing business.

BTA Coalition Letter to United States Trade Representative

AmCham Chairperson CW Chin was delighted to awake to the announcement from U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Minister John Deng that Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) talks will be re-starting shortly, fulfilling a long-standing request of the 1,021 members of our Chamber.

TIFA talks not only remove impediments to two-way trade and investment but also set strategic direction for business development. It is entirely fitting that announcement of the TIFA re-start should coincide with another successful SelectUSA Annual Investment Summit, in virtual form this year, to which Taiwan – yet again – contributed the world’s largest single delegation. Frameworks like the TIFA, a plurilateral digital trade accord or an FTA, are only meaningful to the extent that private sector actors like AmCham Taiwan breath life – and jobs – into them.

AmCham Taiwan stands ready to join with our business partners and allies in the U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Coalition to build on the impetus provided by Ambassador Tai and Minister Deng.

On June 8, 2021, BTA Coalition members the US-Taiwan Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan sent a joint letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai. In the letter, they conveyed the resumption of discussions under TIFA and a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade agreement. 

While restarting TIFA talks is an indispensable first win, the two organizations – representing American business interests in Taiwan on both sides of the Pacific – encouraged Ambassador Tai to announce her intention to initiate Bilateral Trade Agreement talks as soon as feasible.

Please see a copy of the letter below.


AmCham Hosts COVID-19 Webinar with InvesTaiwan CEO Emile Chang

The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has caused much apprehension among Taiwan’s local and international business communities. To address some of their concerns, AmCham hosted a webinar on June 7 with InvesTaiwan CEO Emile Chang, who spoke to Chamber members about the pandemic’s impact on foreign businesses and investment in Taiwan. The event was moderated by Facebook Taiwan Public Policy Manager Max Chen.

In his opening remarks, Chang noted that when the recent outbreak occurred in Taiwan, a new work model began to develop based on the experiences of other countries hit harder by the pandemic last year. This model involved remote business meetings, as well as increased logistics and food delivery services, and the continuity of operations of supply chains.

The shift to work-from-home and rotating A and B work teams has progressed relatively smoothly, and the InvesTaiwan office’s operations have largely been unaffected in terms of productivity, Chang said. He highlighted that InvesTaiwan continues to provide a single service window for foreign business entities.

During the Q&A session, Chang said that if Level 4 restrictions were implemented in Taiwan, all government entities would maintain operations, with 70% of staff working from home and the remaining 30% going into the office. He stressed that InvesTaiwan is streamlining its workflows during the current Level 3 restrictions.

Chang also noted that operations of manufacturers in Taiwan’s science parks are of high priority for the government and that those operating outside the parks should plan according to their needs and submit their proposed plans to the government.

When asked how Taiwan can continue attracting foreign capital under the current circumstances, Chang said that InvesTaiwan is optimistic regarding Taiwan’s capacity to quickly bring the virus under control and continue its quest for more vaccines.

InvesTaiwan and other government entities are prepared to assist foreign businesses with difficulties arising from the outbreak, Chang said. Priority will be given to enabling the entrance of foreign talent as soon as the situation improves. In response to questions on how SMEs owned by foreign nationals can apply for COVID-19 relief loans, Chang said InvesTaiwan will reach out to the Commerce Department and Industrial Development Bureau for further information.

In response to a member’s question, Chang said that individuals who do not display active symptoms should avoid rapid-testing centers due to the risk of contagion at such sites. However, companies may apply for need-based large-scale rapid screenings.

Chang also noted that the Ministry of Health and Welfare arranges vaccinations, and the central government coordinates distribution in order of priority. Companies are advised to monitor the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website and press releases and, if possible, maintain communication with the CDC.

In his closing remarks, Chang extended his compliments and gratitude to AmCham members and other foreign enterprises for their cooperation in the government’s efforts to control the virus and return to normalcy. He concluded that InvesTaiwan would continue providing work opportunities and lifetime business services.