A Virtual Trip Around the World – at the American Ball

AmCham Taipei’s 2020 American Ball was an evening of glitz and glamor as nearly 300 members and their guests arrived at the Grand Hyatt Taipei dressed in dashing tuxedos and elegant evening gowns. While the COVID-19 pandemic has severely restricted international travel, the theme of this year’s ball – Fly Me to the World – aimed to bring the world to attendees. The event featured a world-class meal, international performances, and dance-worthy sounds from around the globe.

View the full photo gallery here

As guests began to trickle in, they made their way from the photo stand in the hotel’s lobby to the registration area outside the Grand Ballroom on the third floor. There they were treated to an eye-catching display of duty-free products supplied by Ever Rich, including high-value Taiwanese tea sets, as well as other local snacks and assorted goods. Those wishing to further memorialize their attendance at this premier event had the chance to strike a pose at two photo stations upstairs.

2020 American Ball – AmCham x Ever Rich

The evening’s festivities kicked off with a lively dance performance, transporting the audience to France and Spain with traditional songs and beautiful costumes. It was a hard act to follow, but Master of Ceremonies Roger Yee rose to the occasion, eliciting laughs and applause from guests and putting everyone at ease. He was joined onstage by AmCham Taipei Chairperson CW Chin and President Leo Seewald, and the three raised a toast on behalf of the host organizations.

2020 American Ball – Dance Performers

As the night continued, guests were treated to a sumptuous intercontinental meal, whose courses included Spanish-style smoked halibut, pineapple sorbet with coconut crumble for lovers of Hawaii, Netherlands-style roasted U.S. beef tenderloin, and a coffee chocolate bonbon representing Italy. It was the kind of feast that lets you savor the world without ever needing to leave the dinner table. To complement this delicious spread, bottles of Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay were provided by drinks sponsor Sergio Valente, while whisky drinkers enjoyed glasses of Johnnie Walker Black Label Sherry Finish from Diageo.

Live music for the American Ball was provided by Sherwyne Pereira and his band MODA, while local DJ Rick Kraft spun a range of contemporary jams and classic tunes, getting people in the dancing spirit. Those who still had room after dinner could take a break from the dancefloor for a late-night snack of pulled pork sandwiches and Spanish churros. Meanwhile, free-flow refreshments were available at the bar throughout the night.

2020 American Ball – Dance Floor

The 2020 American Ball was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring organizations. These included Grand Prize Sponsor Samsung; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Gold Sponsors Amgen, Grand Hyatt Taipei, and HSBC; Décor Sponsor Merck; and Silver Sponsors Corning, The Rehfeldt Group, and GSK.

The party featured raffle drawings with attractive prizes throughout the night. The grand prize, from Samsung, was a 65” QLED 4K television. Other prize sponsors included the Grand Hyatt Taipei, Amba Taipei Songshan, CÉ LA VI Taipei, eslite hotel, Everrich, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Hotel Indigo Taipei North, Hotel Royal Group, Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei, Madison Taipei, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, The Landis Taipei, The One, The Place Taipei, Regent Taipei, Sherwood Taipei, Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

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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.

AmCham Taipei Celebrates 69 Years of Outstanding Service and Leadership

On September 17, AmCham Taipei commemorated its 69th anniversary with an evening celebration at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Over 100 guests, including members new and longstanding, dined on the hotel’s delicious international cuisine, caught up with peers and friends, and raised a toast to the Chamber’s more than six decades of outstanding service to the international business community. The event was sponsored by SGS and the Invest Taipei Office, and drinks were provided by Diageo.

To kick off the evening, AmCham Taipei Chairperson C.W. Chin gave a short speech describing the Chamber’s dedication to further improving the business environment for its members and to strengthening the economic relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. Leo Seewald, president of the Chamber, then announced that AmCham Taipei is in the process of undergoing a name change – to the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan – to better reflect the organization’s scope and responsibility. AmCham’s membership encompasses the whole of Taiwan, Seewald noted, and in terms of its advocacy efforts, it works mostly with the central government on issues of regulatory policy.

Huang Shan-Shan, deputy mayor of Taipei city government, briefly addressed the guests, emphasizing the work of the Invest Taipei Office. ITO is a one-stop platform established by the city’s Department of Economic Development to assist domestic and overseas companies and entrepreneurs by providing them with knowledge and understanding of Taipei’s business environment, as well as of related policies and legislation.

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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.

AmCham and CNAIC Sign Joint Statement on Bilateral Trade Agreement

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei and the Chinese National Association of Industry & Commerce (CNAIC) have issued a joint statement calling on the governments of the U.S. and Taiwan to begin negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. The agreement was signed September 9 by AmCham Taipei Chairman CW Chin and CNAIC Chairman Lin Por-fong at a ceremony at the Palais de Chine Hotel. It is the first collaborative effort between the two organizations, which represent many of the largest local and international enterprises operating in Taiwan.

The statement acknowledges the importance of the U.S. and Taiwan to each other in terms of two-way trade, which totaled nearly US$43 billion for the first half of 2020. In addition, the two trading partners share a commitment to the principles of fair, transparent, and mutually beneficial trade relations, as well as to upholding democracy and the rule of law, protection of intellectual property, and maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Taiwan is thus an ideal candidate for a BTA.

Speaking prior to the signing of the joint statement, Chin cited the significance of a U.S.-Taiwan BTA both to the Chamber’s mission and to Taiwan’s economy more broadly. Noting that 2020 marks AmCham’s 69th anniversary, he said that “what’s good for the people of Taiwan is good for our more than 500 member companies.”

Also attending the ceremony was Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, who stressed the excellent state of U.S.-Taiwan economic relations, as well as the highly favorable outlook for future investment and bilateral cooperation.

Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua Speaks at AmCham Luncheon

Over 100 AmCham Taipei members attended a special luncheon with recently appointed Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua at the Regent Taipei on August 4. Speaking to the attendees, Minister Wang described the challenges to businesses and the economy posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s tightening grip on Hong Kong, the restructuring of global supply chains, and the U.S.-China trade dispute. However, she also highlighted the new opportunities these developments have opened up for Taiwan and its partners, particularly the U.S.

“In light of the pandemic, Taiwanese businesses have had to make big changes to stay afloat. So, it’s not just Taiwan’s government that has been busy lately!” Minister Wang said. Given the government’s adept handling of the virus within its borders, though, she pointed out that of all the OECD countries, Taiwan’s economy suffered the smallest impact in Q2 this year – negative growth of less than 1%. That’s of course not to say that certain industries, such as petrochemicals and real estate, haven’t been more severely affected.

Wang went on to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on tech supply chains which had already begun being reconfigured due to trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The pandemic has accelerated the trend of decoupling, and shifted the focus from long, complex supply chains to ones that are shorter and more secure, she said. Taiwan’s government, seeing the need to act, attracted over US$36.3 billion in investment through three programs geared toward overseas Taiwanese businesses, domestic corporations, and small- and medium-sized enterprises. These efforts have led to the creation of over 90,000 jobs.

Looking ahead, Wang noted the opportunities for Taiwan to deepen its economic partnership with the U.S. She spoke of Taiwan’s attractiveness as a destination for investment by U.S. businesses, emphasizing its strengths in terms of hardware – such as its robust OEM capabilities – and for software, particularly its sizable pool of highly-trained talent. Already, large tech firms such as Google have taken an interest in the advantages Taiwan affords, pledging to collaborate with Taiwan’s government on training AI talent and turning Taiwan into the largest hardware R&D and data center in the Asia-Pacific. And in terms of supply chains, Wang said that Taiwan has become a great source of components for U.S. companies like Tesla; products made by Taiwanese suppliers account for 75% of the company’s key components for its cars.

Wang said that “countries the world over are starting to realize that Taiwan is a reliable partner.” She noted that Taiwan and the U.S. hold shared democratic values, and that Taiwan’s support for an open and fair trade system and complementarity with U.S. industries make it one of the best partners for the U.S. in Asia, and an ideal candidate for a bilateral trade agreement between the two.

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.

A Belated but Rousing Hsien Nien Fan

AmCham Taipei’s 2020 Hsieh Nien Fan banquet was held successfully at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on August 25, despite a long postponement from the original March schedule due to the disruptions of COVID-19. Under the circumstances, this year’s celebration was especially meaningful, bringing together nearly 700 AmCham members and guests, including more than 130 government officials.

Attending the banquet for the fourth time – and the first since her inauguration for a second term, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech. AmCham Chairperson CW Chin (see the full text and video here) and American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen made additional remarks.

Chin opened the ceremony by expressing his thanks to the Taiwan government for the support and cooperation given the Chamber in the past year. He especially praised the administration for its excellent performance in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

In her speech, President Tsai stated that the partnership between Taiwan and the U.S. was made even stronger in the face of the combined challenges from the pandemic and security concerns. That cooperation was exemplified by the recent signing of an MoU on health cooperation during the visit of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Tsai urged that the bilateral relationship be further deepened by entering into negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. She emphasized that the Taiwan government is “committed to securing a robust investment environment to the benefit of us all.”

AIT Director Christensen commended Taiwan’s progress in advancing shared political, economic, and international values of the U.S. and Taiwan during the challenging times of COVID-19. “It has been our pleasure to work closely with Taiwan to share the Taiwan Model with both U.S. institutions and countries around the world,” he said.

Besides the President, high-ranking Taiwanese officials that attended included Secretary General of the Presidential Office David Lee, Secretary-General of the  National Security Council Wellington Koo, Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin, Minister without Portfolio John Deng, Minister of the National Development Council Kung Min-hsin, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, Chairperson of the Financial Supervisory Commission Huang Tien-mu, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang, Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Chairperson of National Communications Council Chen Yaw-shyang, and Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. This event was also joined by several members of the Legislative Yuan and Taipei City Council.

A host of generous sponsors helped make the event possible: Platinum Sponsor Citi; Gold Sponsors Corning, Franklin Templeton Investments, and Standard Chartered Bank; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Silver Sponsors 3M, HSBC, JTI, and Micron; Bronze Sponsors Air Products, Amgen, Baker McKenzie, Bechtel, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, Merck, Philip Morris Taiwan, and Semi; and General Sponsors Airbnb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, and the Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.

Remarks by Chairperson CW Chin at the 52nd Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 52nd annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on August 25 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

A transcript of the chairperson’s remarks is as follows (as prepared for delivery):

President Tsai, AIT Director Christensen, Distinguished Guests, and Chamber Members:

Good evening and welcome to the 52nd annual Hsieh Nien Fan of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei!

As you are undoubtedly aware, we are gathering for this event a bit late this year. It was originally scheduled for March as usual…before COVID-19 rudely intervened and disrupted our plans. But as a result of this year’s special circumstances and the change in timing, I believe it’s fair to say that the Hsieh Nien Fan this year has become even more meaningful than ever.

After all, the main purpose of this event is for AmCham and its member companies to express our thanks to our counterparts in the Taiwan government for the support and cooperation they have given the Chamber in the previous year. Normally that cooperation means the access that officials have granted us and the progress that has been made in resolving White Paper issues. This year, those considerations are still relevant – and we wound up with an excellent record in tackling our committees’ White Paper concerns.

But during a period of catastrophic pandemic that has put peoples’ lives and health at risk and wreaked havoc on economies around the world, we have something much more important to express our gratitude to the Taiwan government for. Thank you, President Tsai and members of your administration, for keeping us and our families and our employees safe and healthy over the difficult past half year. The competence and efficiency that Taiwan has demonstrated in combating the coronavirus has won it the respect and admiration of people all over the globe. As integral members of this community, we are proud that Taiwan has been a model of transparency and good governance internationally.

So even more than usual, our gathering tonight for Hsieh Nien Fan is an act of celebration, and we appreciate that so many of our friends in the Taiwan government were able to join us for this happy occasion. In fact, I am told there might be enough cabinet ministers in the room tonight to make a quorum for a cabinet meeting.

Although time constraints prevent me from recognizing each one of our government guests individually, I want them to know how much we value their presence tonight and the good work they are doing all year long. But considering our theme of gratitude for the able handling of the pandemic, I would like to recognize the attendance of one cabinet minister in particular, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. He has proved to be not only a highly knowledgeable and capable healthcare professional, but also a skilled communicator who has been a calming influence on the public during a period of challenge. You might say he has been Taiwan’s Dr. Fauci…but with more support from his president.

That brings me to another important aspect of the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet –celebration of the strong relationship between the United States and Taiwan. In the past year, we have heard both U.S. and Taiwan official say that those relations currently are the best they have ever been. There is plenty of evidence to support that statement, including the recent visit of Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, the highest-ranking U.S. official to come to Taiwan in many decades.

In addition, Congress has passed several pieces of legislation in support of Taiwan, some significant arms deals have been concluded, and trade and investment levels in both directions has been strong. In the first half of this year, Taiwan moved up from 10th to 9th place among American trading partners, and during at least one month it was number 8.

Given that warm relationship and large volume of trade, as well as Taiwan’s economic and strategic importance in this part of the world, it makes perfect sense for the two sides to enter into negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. AmCham plans to make that goal one of its priority objectives for the coming year.

Before concluding, I would like to mention that AmCham joined the people of Taiwan in mourning the recent passing of President Lee Teng-hui and honoring his legacy of promoting democratic values in Taiwan. President Lee was the first head of government in Taiwan to give the keynote speech at Hsieh Nien Fan. That was in the year 2000. He established a tradition that has annually been followed by each president since then – tonight by President Tsai Ing-wen as she has done each year of her presidency.

It is now my honor to invite the President to the podium. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming President Tsai Ing-wen….

AmCham Mourns Death of Former President Lee

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei joins the people of Taiwan in mourning the passing of former President Lee Teng-hui. Lee played a historic role in promoting Taiwan’s democratic development. Holder of a Master’s degree from Iowa State University and a doctorate from Cornell, he was also a strong advocate of close relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

Lee’s contacts with AmCham Taipei began when he served as Mayor of Taipei City and later Governor of Taiwan Province. The Chamber will be forever grateful to him for starting the tradition – which still continues – for the President to attend AmCham’s annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet as the keynote speaker.

 

台北市美國商會悼念李前總統

台北市美國商會加入台灣人民的行列,對李前總統登輝先生的離世表示哀悼。李前總統在促進台灣民主發展扮演歷史性角色,李前總統擁有美國愛荷華州立大學碩士、康乃爾大學博士學位,同時亦為建立台美緊密關係的強力提倡者。

李前總統與台北市美國商會的淵源,始於台北市長與台灣省主席任內。美國商會將永遠感念李前總統在其任內,開啟總統蒞臨商會年度「謝年飯」晚宴擔任主題演講者之傳統。

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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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.

Discussing the Future of the Digital Economy in Taiwan

On July 8, AmCham Taipei welcomed Central Bank of China Deputy Governor Chen Nan-kuang and National Taxation Bureau Director-General Hsu Tzu-mei to speak at a Tax Committee luncheon.

Deputy Governor Chen’s talk focused on his vision for the future direction of Taiwan’s central banking system. Central banks have grown in abilities and influence due to public trust in electronic payment systems, giving central banks an essential role in the digital era, Chen said.

Central Bank of China Deputy Governor Chen Nan-kuang

Chen also spoke about the growing importance of central bank digital currency (CBDC), which many countries have begun to rely on for its efficiency and resilience. He pointed out the increased dependency on electronic transactions, which has given rise to different kinds of payment methods. Chen introduced Taiwan’s Common Platform for Electronic Payment Institutions, an online tool that incorporates electronic payments into the interbank financial information system.

Director-General Hsu explained Taiwan’s tax structure, giving examples that demonstrated its consideration of a variety of domestic and international factors. She described Taiwan’s strategy of ensuring that all product, information, and cash flows are registered and tracked, strengthening the development of digital finance on the island.

National Taxation Bureau Director-General Hsu Tzu-mei

Both Chen and Hsu emphasized the development of digital finance and how it applies to banking systems, yet also reminded attendees of the potential vulnerabilities involved.

 

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.

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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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.