Launch of the 2017 Taiwan White Paper

With a morning press conference attended by 28 media outlets and a luncheon presentation before 112 Chamber members and guests, AmCham Taipei released its 2017 Taiwan White Paper on June 8. At the luncheon meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Taipei, AmCham Chairman Albert Chang and President Andrea Wu officially presented a copy of the new White Paper to Minister Chen Tain-jy of the National Development Council (NDC), who received it on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Minister Chen of the NDC accepted the Taiwan White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

AmCham Taipei has published the Taiwan White Paper annually since 1996 to provide the Taiwan government with constructive suggestions on how to strengthen the business climate. This year marks the 20th year since the White Paper was first published in bilingual format in 1997.

Chang’s briefing focused on five major themes related to the performance of President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration during its first year in office:

  • A major advance in regulatory transparency. Chang said the government’s decision last year to extend the notice and comment period for new laws and regulations from 14 to 60 days was “cause for major celebration.” He said that government agencies’ collection of more input from stakeholders should lead to more effective rule-making, especially if it spurs real dialog between the regulators and the regulated.
  • Opportunities for investment. The administration’s ambitious “5+2 Innovative Industries” plan has attracted interest from foreign companies, especially in the fields of the Internet of Things, biomedical, and green energy. But Chang cautioned against allowing the construction of physical facilities to overshadow the need to foster the right innovation-stimulating “software” by cultivating talent, creativity, and culture.
  • A problematic labor law. Recent amendments to the Labor Standards Law are geared to the factory-based circumstances of the “old economy” rather than the service-centered, knowledge-oriented model that must constitute Taiwan’s future. The rigid rules on working hours, overtime, and other working conditions will in fact serve to stifle creativity. Means must be found to incorporate more flexibility into the rules.
  • Continued energy uncertainty. For Taiwan industry, it is crucial to have sufficient, reliable, and cost-competitive electrical power. But many observers are unsure how Taiwan will be able to achieve that objective while also meeting its announced dual goals of eliminating nuclear power and drastically cutting carbon emissions. Industry needs the government to provide a clear roadmap for Taiwan’s future energy development.
  • Bolster trade ties with the United States. Although the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is now very much in doubt after the U.S. pull-out, Taiwan still needs to find ways to diversify trade and avoid marginalization in the international economic arena. AmCham supports the idea of “free and fair” bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the United States. Taiwan after all is America’s 10th largest trading partner, and the two have enjoyed a long and fruitful economic relationship. Although the Trump administration has opposed multilateral agreements, it has left the door open to bilateral pacts, and Taiwan would be a highly suitable negotiating partner as long as it is willing to follow international standards and practices in its trade policies.

In addition to those broad themes, the 2017 Taiwan White Paper includes 83 sector-specific recommendations from 24 AmCham committees or industry groups.

Looking back at the 80 suggestions raised by AmCham committees in the 2016 Taiwan White Paper, the Chamber found that not a single one had been fully resolved in the past year, although eight issues were rated as showing satisfactory progress. Chang said the lack of complete resolution of any issues was reason for concern but not pessimism.

“We hope to work closely with the government to bring about more traction on issues of importance to our member companies,” he said.

To facilitate that progress, AmCham this year identified 12 Priority Issues for Special Attention, selected as having both the potential for high impact and feasibility for relatively early resolution. The Chamber is asking the government to assign a point-person to be responsible for monitoring the progress of all 80 suggestions, but especially the 12 Priority Issues, and to liaise with AmCham at least every quarter to discuss their status.

In remarks delivered after accepting the White Paper, Minister Chen said the government values its longstanding good relationship with AmCham and will take the White Paper recommendations very seriously.

View the full photo gallery here

AmCham’s 2017 Golf Championship

On May 12, AmCham Taipei held its 2017 Golf Championship at the Kuo Hua Golf & Country Club in Beitou.

With a full shot-gun start, all players teed-off promptly at 6:30 a.m., following the Texas Scramble based on Peoria format. The day was mostly cloudy with pleasant temperatures, and players were able to stay refreshed with non-alcoholic drinks generously sponsored by Swire Coca-Cola, Savanna Cider by Distell, and Ice cream by Swensen’s.

A total of 55 golfers, organized into 14 teams, took part in the golf event.

Thanks to hole-sponsors Corning, and Taiwan Sotheby’s International Realty, golfers had the chance to win Nearest to the Pin contests at every Par-3 hole, as well as Longest Drive on two Par-5 holes. In addition, Ally Logistics Property also sponsored 8 sleeves of top-quality golf balls as hole prizes.

All participants also took home “goody bags” filled with prizes provided by Asian Tigers, Ally Logistics Property, Costco, Crown, and Taiwan Sotheby’s International Realty.

Tournament Results

Team handicaps for this year’s tournament were determined using the Peoria system, with the six special holes drawn randomly by players during the awards lunch. Evonik (Thomas Zechel, Albert Lee, Michael Huang, and KC Lin) won the championship. Other golfers also had opportunities to win prizes in the lucky draw that followed, with products sponsored by Audi, Costco, Grand Hyatt Taipei, Howard Plaza Taipei, IGST, Patron Spirits, Regent Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei, Silks Place Taroko, The Place Tainan, The Sherwood Taipei, and the W Taipei. Distell also sponsored Scottish Leader Whisky that was served during lunch.

Before ending lunch, AmCham President Andrea Wu extended special thanks to the 2017 AmCham Golf Committee – Doug Klein, Jesse Chen, James Hsiao, and Wayne Shen – for their expert advice on all things golf-related.

View the full photo gallery here

Remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang at the AmCham Taipei Banquet, Hsien Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 49th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 22nd in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, who expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan. He stressed the findings of AmCham Taipei’s recent 2017 Business Climate Survey that an already excellent business environment – especially with regard to quality of life and human capital – could easily be further improved through greater regulatory transparency and consistency.

A transcript of the chairman’s remarks is as follows:

Welcome, Good evening! President Tsai, Ministers, AIT Director Moy, AmCham Members, and Distinguished Guests. Let me say a warm welcome to AmCham Taipei’s annual Hsieh Nien Fan!

This is a historic evening. Every year, for the past 49 years, AmCham has gathered together the top leaders from government and international business. And tonight, we have set a new record of nearly 700 people here. To Director Moy and our fellow AIT leaders, we are so happy to have you with us tonight. This is a historic night, because tonight we welcome someone who herself has made history. Madam President, let me say, on behalf of AmCham Taipei, we are so honored to have you with us this evening. And so to you, your Ministers, and the 100-plus government officials here tonight, we offer a warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you.

As we gather here tonight, we have so much to celebrate.

The leaders in this room have personally overseen the creation of thousands-upon-thousands of high-quality high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of investment in Taiwan. Let’s not forget these are not numbers on a piece of paper. The companies in this room have done their part to improve the lives of the average Taiwanese citizen in very real ways.

When we asked our members in our most recent Business Climate Survey about their hiring and investment plans, they told us that they are doubling down here. Half of the companies in our Survey responded that they grew their headcount and investment in Taiwan in 2016. Half of the companies responded that Taiwan is a top 10 global priority for their company.

On quality of life, an overwhelming majority expressed enthusiasm for the quality of Taiwan’s workforce and the outstanding living environment. Some even joked that Taiwan is the only place in the world where the taxi drivers are nicer than the passengers! Even for me personally, when people tell me my Chinese has improved, I tell them I learn everything I know from our taxi drivers! But then when they say my accent is so bad, I guess I know who’s to blame.

On regulations, under Premier Lin Chuan’s leadership, the notice and comment period for new regulations has been extended from 14 days to 60 days, facilitating stronger input on proposed regulatory changes.

We thank President Tsai and the Taiwan government for creating an environment that welcomes the world’s leading companies to plant their flag in Taiwan and encourages them to invest, innovate, and grow here.

But, at the same time, we are not naïve, we all know that there is still much more work to do to unlock the next wave of growth in jobs and investment. If there is one message from our members on the state of the business environment in Taiwan, it is that we need to accelerate the pace of improvement.

And we need to do it in 3 key areas:

  • Number 1: Government regulations – Regulations are the essential glue to a well-functioning, modern economy like Taiwan. But this is one area our members said Taiwan needs to step up. We’re looking for more transparency around the regulatory process; and we need more time and more opportunities to provide meaningful input into the process by which new laws are formulated and approved. This is the single biggest issue for international businesses here year after year.
  • Number 2: Labor law –In today’s digital economy, where whole industries are being disrupted by fast-moving innovators, labor laws need to keep up. Labor laws in Taiwan need to become more relevant, they need to become more actionable, and they need to become more relevant to the day-to-day needs of companies trying to invest, innovate, and grow.
  • And Number 3: Our members are looking for Taiwan to be a source of macro-economic stability in a world that is becoming more uncertain and more fraught with risks than ever before. Stability instills confidence throughout the entire system, and lets business leaders feel assured that their investments will be secure today, and in the future.

To my esteemed colleagues and friends in the room here, I would say this: you’ve all done so much to get Taiwan to the enviable position that it is in today: a thriving, vibrant democracy; a nation of smart, friendly, and hard-working people; and one of the largest trading nations on earth.

At AmCham, we are more optimistic than ever. We have here tonight the public and private sector leaders who will shape the economic future of Taiwan. And while we may not all share the same goals or agendas, what we do share, what does bind us together, is a deep commitment to continued economic growth and prosperity in Taiwan.

Personally, coming back to Taiwan several years ago was a deeply meaningful homecoming for me. I am personally committed to work with the esteemed leaders present in the room here tonight, to ensure that this home that we call Taiwan is a place where we can raise our families, build our businesses, and pursue our dreams in peace and prosperity.

Before I hand over the podium, I’d like to share with you an often-cited African proverb, my favorite proverb in fact, which states, “If you want to go fast, go alone…but if you want to go far, go together.” Tonight, we gather in recognition of the fact that, although there is so much work to do, there is no limit to what we can accomplish, if we do it together.

To President Tsai and Director Moy, we extend our warmest welcome and deepest thanks, and we look forward to years of continued partnership together.  Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, Mr. Kin Moy, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

President Tsai Addresses AmCham Taipei Banquet, Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 49th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 22nd in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei. This year’s attendance was a record high of nearly 700 AmCham Taipei members and guests.

The purpose of the event is to express thanks to Taiwan government officials, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other friends of the Chamber for their cooperation and support in the previous year.

Attending for the first time since taking office last May, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, becoming the fourth president of the Republic of China to do so.  She commended AmCham Taipei, noting that “for 66 years this chamber has served as a vital bridge between Taiwan, the United States, and the business communities of our two countries.” Citing AmCham Taipei’s annual Doorknock delegation to Washington D.C., Tsai said that “without these efforts, the Taiwan-U.S. partnership would not be in the robust health it is in today.”

President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, becoming the fourth president of the Republic of China to do so.

The president said that with a new administration now in office in the United States, “we have entered a new stage of Taiwan-U.S. relations.” She outlined her government’s plans to strengthen that relationship in three areas:

  1. Strategic. Taiwan is supporting peace-keeping efforts in Iraq and Syria by assisting with international mine-removal efforts; in January it also donated a mobile hospital for use in Iraq. In addition, Taiwan will make greater investment in its own defense, to the benefit of peace and stability in the region, and will seek more cooperation with American defense firms as it builds up an indigenous defense industry and procures more military systems from the United States. This initiative, together with programs in aerospace and cybersecurity, will help create thousands of jobs in Taiwan and the U.S., Tsai said.
  2. Trade. The United States is already Taiwan’s second largest trading partner, with trade in goods and services reaching US$85 billion last year. Faced with the Trump administration’s America First policy, however, “Taiwan is prepared to make adjustments” – emphasizing not only free trade but fair trade, the president said. Referring to her background as a trade negotiator, she said “I firmly believe that through communication and negotiation, trade conflicts and other differences can always be resolved.” She stated her hope that Taiwan and the U.S. can “work together toward a new bilateral trade agreement – preferably, of course, FTA-type.”
  3. Investment. Taiwan will send its largest ever delegation to attend the SelectUSA investment summit in Washington this June to actively seek opportunities to invest in the United States. At the same time, Taiwan’s 5+2 innovation program will open new opportunities for cooperation and investment in Taiwan by U.S. companies and for the purchase of American goods.

AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, presented President Tsai with the book The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World, as a gift to show our gratitude for her participation and support of the event.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, who expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan. He stressed the findings of AmCham Taipei’s recent 2017 Business Climate Survey that an already excellent business environment – especially with regard to quality of life and human capital – could easily be further improved through greater regulatory transparency and consistency.

Director Kin W. Moy of the American Institute in Taiwan also spoke, stressing the opportunities for further U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation through such channels as the ongoing dialogue as part of the TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) platform, bilateral Digital Economy Forums, Global Cooperation and Training Framework, International Environmental Partnership, and APEC.

Besides President Tsai, other high-level Taiwan government dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Joseph Wu
  • Legislative Yuan Secretary General Jih-Jia Lin
  • Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio John Chen-Chung
  • Ministry of Interior Minister Jiunn-rong Yeh 
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister David Tawei Lee
  • Ministry of Science and Technology Minister Liang-Gee Chen
  • Ministry of Health and Welfare Minister Shih-Chung Chen 
  • Environmental Protection Administration Minister Ying-Yuan Lee 
  • National Communications Commission Chairperson Nicole,T.I. Chan

The event would not have been possible without the contribution of the following sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
  • Gold Sponsors: Corning Display; Franklin Templeton Investments; Standard Chartered Bank
  • Silver Sponsors: 3M, HSBC, JTI, and Micron
  • Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, American Express, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, and Siemens
  • General Sponsors: Audi, Ford Lio Ho, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.
  • Wine & Liquor: Diageo Taiwan, Sergio Valente

2016 Annual General Meeting

On Tuesday, November 22, AmCham Taipei held its 2016 Annual General Meeting, where members and guests gathered to vote for the next year’s Board of Governors, as well as changes to the Chamber’s Articles of Association.

AmCham Chairman Dan Silver delivers the 2016 Year in Review Presentation at the Annual General Meeting

AmCham Chairman Dan Silver delivers the 2016 Year in Review Presentation at the Annual General Meeting

Year in Review

Following President Andrea Wu’s opening remarks, Chairman Dan Silver delivered a presentation summarizing the Chamber’s collective achievements, milestones and activities from the past year. View the full presentation below.

Keynote Speech

This year, we were honored to have Mr. Robin Ren, Vice President and Head of Asia Pacific at Tesla Motors, as our keynote speaker. Ren passionately explained Tesla’s vision for a sustainable future to guests in attendance, highlighting the achievements of Elon Musk’s automotive enterprise and calling for a collective effort to create a cleaner and greener world through technological advancement.

Robin Ren, Vice President and Head of Asia Pacific at Tesla Motors, gives a talk on Tesla's vision for a sustainable future to guests at the 2016 AGM.

Robin Ren, Vice President and Head of Asia Pacific at Tesla Motors, gives a talk on Tesla’s vision for a sustainable future to guests at the 2016 AGM.

 

Election Results

We give our sincere thanks to all of our voting members who attended and offered their support. With your help, we reached a quorum, and held a successful election.

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The board structure page on our site will be updated in January to reflect the status of incoming and outgoing board members. A brief summary of results follows – you may download the complete announcement by clicking here.

2017-2018 Governors (Name, Company)

  • Sammy Carolus, Grand Hyatt Taipei
  • Albert Chang, McKinsey & Company, Inc.
  • Margaret Driscoll, Eli Lilly and Company (Taiwan), Inc.
  • Tim Ju, Ford Lio Ho Motor Co., Ltd.
  • Seraphim Ma, Baker & McKenzie
  • Rodney Morgan, Micron Tech Asia Pacific Taiwan
  • Vincent Shih, Microsoft Taiwan Corp.

2017 Supervisors (Name, Company) 

  • Anita Chen, Independent Marketing & Research Limited
  • Nick Chen, DHL Express (Taiwan) Corp.
  • Bimal Kapoor, National Basketball Association
  • Carl Lin, Procter & Gamble Taiwan Ltd.
  • Raghavendra Shenoy, Johnson & Johnson Medical Taiwan Ltd.
Current board members, along with Chairman Dan Silver, President Andrea Wu, present guest speaker Robin Ren of Tesla with a token of appreciation following his keynote presentation.

Current board members, along with Chairman Dan Silver, President Andrea Wu, present guest speaker Robin Ren of Tesla with a token of appreciation following his keynote presentation.

AmCham 2016 Cybersecurity Forum

With the U.S. presidential race embroiled in controversy due in no small part to hacked emails revealing intimate details of strategy and opinion, while Taiwan deals with a spectacular heist of local ATMs by Russian hackers based in London, the threat of cyber-attacks spans the globe.

Accordingly, on October 6, AmCham Taipei joined hands with three influential Taiwanese associations – the Information Service Industry Association of the R.O.C. (CISA), the Cloud Computing Association in Taiwan, and Taipei Computer Association (TCA) – to host the 2016 Cybersecurity Forum. Sponsored by Microsoft Taiwan and the FireEye internet security firm, the forum featured notable speakers representing the U.S. FBI, the Executive Yuan’s Department of Cyber Security, the Ministry of Justice, and Deloitte & Touche, as well as industry experts from FireEye, IBM, Intumit, and Microsoft.

The forum opened with recorded remarks by Audrey Tang, the celebrated “hacktivist” and now Minister without Portfolio, who described attacks against Taiwanese government and businesses as “one of the most urgent challenges that we have to deal with.” Tang said that only by assuring cybersecurity “can we realize the full potential” of the internet as a “vibrant force for economic, social and cultural development.”

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Rod Morgan, AmCham Technology co-chair and head of Inotera/Micron in Taiwan, introduced the speakers, starting with Joshua Kim, the U.S. FBI legal attaché for Hong Kong-Taipei. According to Kim, a cyberattack follows a general “kill chain,” which starts with reconnaissance of a system for vulnerabilities, penetration and delivery of malicious code to take control of the target computers, and finally, data or money theft, or network destabilization.

The Cybersecurity Management Act

Taiwan’s government is developing its Cybersecurity Management Act to establish the legal and regulatory framework to “help government and the private sector to improve cybersecurity and risk management,” noted Jyan Hong-wei, Director-General for the Department of Cybersecurity under the Executive Yuan. Jyan said that while the government has a number of executive orders targeted at improving cybersecurity, the scope of these orders is too narrow and neglects critical infrastructure owned and managed by the private sector.

The new act fills these gaps by offering a comprehensive law covering both central and local government as well as state-owned enterprises and critical infrastructure providers in the private sector. Jyan noted that the proposed law would not cover the private sector as a whole, an assurance that industry welcomed as making the scope of the law more workable. AmCham’s Technology Committee also welcomed his invitation for companies and organizations to provide their suggestions and input.

Wu Fu-mei, deputy director of the Information and Communication Security (ICS) division within the Ministry of Justice, presented a glimpse at the MOJ’s efforts to investigate and combat cybercrime in Taiwan. The ICS employs Taiwan’s first accredited laboratory for computer forensics. This forensics lab is crucial to investigating proliferating cases of “ransomware,” in which a victim’s data is stolen and encrypted and the criminals demand payment for its return, as well as cyberattacks committed by insiders within an organization and APT (Advanced Persistent Threats), which are ongoing, sophisticated threats such as presented by China’s infamous hacker army.

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Wu’s deputy, Lo Yueng-tien, special agent in the Cyber Crime section, gave a separate presentation detailing the hack of the First Bank ATMs in which a Eastern European gang attempted to steal over US$2 million. Thanks to savvy detective work by Taiwan’s investigators combined with clumsy footwork by the criminals, most of the perpetrators were arrested and the money largely recovered.

Hans A. Barre, senior manager for Risk Advisory with Deloitte & Touche, then gave a presentation reminding corporate leaders to prepare for the inevitability of cyber-attacks and remain actively involved in both prevention and recovery.

Expanding Awareness

A panel discussion moderated by AmCham Technology Committee co-chair Revital Golan followed with participants Vincent Shih, assistant general counsel and GM of Microsoft’s legal affairs division; Hsu Wei-lun, senior manager with IBM Taiwan; JD Chiou, CEO of Intumit, Inc. and a Judicial Yuan advisor; and Jarvett Lin, Greater China manager for FireEye. The panelists stressed the need for every member of an organization to be aware of cybersecurity. Hacking victim First Bank, for example, took all of the right steps towards preventing a cyber-attack, yet access was obtained through a spear-phishing attack. (Recent evidence indicates that the Democratic National Committee emails were likewise hacked through spear phishing.)

Cyberattacks seem to be on the rise, and organizations need to prepare to defend their data as well as mitigate the damage and recover from losses, the panelists said. Vincent Shih of Microsoft starkly divided the world’s companies into two kinds: those that know that they have been hacked and are doing something about it, and those that don’t yet know that they have been hacked.

“That’s the real situation right now,” Shih said. “We need to expand this awareness.”

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Special Event – Countdown to the US Election

For those expecting fireworks, the AmCham’s Special Luncheon, “Countdown to the 2016 US Presidential Election,” on Oct 19, might have been a disappointment. Rather than political discord, attendees were instead treated to reasoned analysis of the U.S. presidential campaign and its possible ramifications on U.S. policy toward Asia by two keen observers of U.S. politics and Asia policy: William A. Stanton, Founding Director, the Center for Asia Policy (CAP), National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and former AIT Director; and Ross Feingold, Senior Adviser at DC International Advisory.

Moderated by Paul Cassingham, Senior Legal Consultant at Eiger as well as a former AmCham Chairman and current Government Relations Committee Chair, the luncheon featured 15-minute presentations by each of the speakers, followed by Q&A and open discussion.

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William A. Stanton, Founding Director, the Center for Asia Policy (CAP), National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan and former AIT Director, presents his analysis of the US election’s potential impact in Asia.

Stanton’s presentation, The U.S. Presidential Election and What it Means for Asia, focused on four key areas:

  • U.S. Policy toward China
  • U.S. Policy towards Taiwan
  • the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • and the South China Sea

He noted that both of the candidates talked tough on China, with Trump’s criticisms primarily economic while Clinton’s were more broadly aimed at China’s poor human rights record, its growing military might, accusations that China is wielding an army of cyber-attackers aimed at the United States, and its lack of democracy.

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Ross Feingold, Senior Adviser at DC International Advisory, presented a broader overview of the election process up to this point.

Feingold, who identified himself as a Republican who does not support Trump, focused more broadly on the bruising primary and presidential campaigns and how each candidate has fared. He noted that while recent email leaks and other public relations disasters have resulted in low public approval for Clinton, Trump’s approval ratings are in the basement, resulting in a distinct advantage for Clinton. Feingold also said that the Democratic Party’s platform remains focused on the “One-China” policy, while the Republican Party platform is more detailed and more supportive of Taiwan.

Participants joined in a lively discussion over what the election might mean for Taiwan, including the chances of the TPP being passed under either candidate. Stanton and Feingold concurred that although both candidates expressed disapproval for the TPP, Clinton would more likely re-open negotiations for the Pacific-wide trade agreement. Regarding another issue of concern for U.S. expats in Taiwan, Clinton has expressed support for the FATCA exemption on bank reporting. The Trump campaign has said nothing on this matter.

AmCham Taipei Marks 65th Anniversary

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AmCham Chairman Dan Silver (left), AIT Deputy Director Robert Forden (center), and AmCham President Andrea Wu toast on stage to celebrate the 65th anniversary of AmCham Taipei

With a gala reception attended by nearly 100 members and guests, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on Sept. 22 celebrated the 65th anniversary of its establishment. The event was held at the Taipei 47 restaurant on the 47th floor of the Cathay Landmark building, offering attendees spectacular views of nighttime Taipei.

In brief remarks, AmCham Chairman Dan Silver highlighted some of AmCham’s key achievements over the past year, including the highly successful 2016 “Doorknock” visit to Washington, D.C. in mid-June and its advocacy efforts on behalf of more transparency and public engagement in the Taiwan government’s process for drafting new laws and regulations.

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Another new development for AmCham Taipei was the expansion of its physical space to open its own well-equipped conference facility, the Lincoln Room, one floor below the main AmCham office. So far, the Lincoln Room has served as the venue for Chamber events such as press conferences, government visits, luncheons, workshops, seminars, happy hours, and marketplace sessions, and it is also available for rental by member companies and others.

Silver also called attention to the offering of digital versions of the contents of the Chamber’s popular monthly publication, Taiwan Business TOPICS.

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Representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Deputy Director Robert Forden expressed appreciation for AmCham’s longstanding efforts to strengthen economic relations between Taiwan and the United States. He cited the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper as providing excellent reference for both the Taiwan and U.S. governments regarding the needs of multinational businesses operating in Taiwan.

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2016 AmCham Taipei Washington Doorknock

2016 DK Senator John McCain

AmCham Taipei conducted its 2016 Doorknock mission to Washington D.C. from June 20 to 24. Pictured above: Arizona Senator John McCain with AmCham Chairman Dan Silver and other members of the group.

This year’s AmCham Taipei Doorknock delegation, led by Chairman Dan Silver and President Andrea Wu, stressed the importance – for both Taiwan and the U.S. – of Taiwan entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when it expands beyond the original 12 members.

At some points dividing into teams, the group met with representatives from 48 different offices and organizations, calling on members of the U.S. Executive Branch, U.S. Congress, the Taiwan Representative, and others. (See the full list below)

Doorknock Delegation with Congressman Matt Salmon (Arizona-R)

Delegation members with Congressman Matt Salmon (R-Arizona)

Key Takeaways

  • Although free-trade agreements have been the object of much criticism in the U.S. during this election year, the U.S. government remains committed to seeing the pact come into being. Progress is being made toward gaining broader U.S. industry support by resolving points of dissatisfaction that sectors such as pharmaceuticals and financial services have had with the TPP text.
  • A Congressional vote on TPP in a year-end “lame duck” session is a strong possibility, though not a certainty. Otherwise the vote would need to be either early in the next presidential term or after the 2018 mid-term elections.
  • Serious consideration of second-round TPP candidates will need to wait for the agreement’s entry into force. But Taiwan and Korea are being widely mentioned, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Colombia.
  • China is already making known its opposition to Taiwan entering into TPP. Taiwan therefore needs to take urgent steps to demonstrate its qualifications – beyond any doubt – by showing firm commitment to international standards and practices. It also needs to work on resolving outstanding major trade issues with all 12 TPP countries.
2016 DK Ambassador Holleyman- USTR (1)

The delegation met with Ambassador Robert Holleyman, the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

  • Preparations are under way for the annual U.S.-Taiwan TIFA talks to be held in Washington in the second half of the year. The U.S. side emphasizes the importance of making concrete progress on the various issues that will be on the table.
  • AmCham Taipei’s proposal for a second-generation Administrative Procedure Act met with enthusiastic support from many offices. There is appreciation that a single notification platform for proposed regulatory changes, ample time for the public to comment, and a mechanism for government agencies to respond would usher in a much more transparent and effective regulatory regime.
  • The U.S. government has been increasingly engaging with Taiwan in a wide variety of spheres. As the U.S. moves to devote more attention to Asia and the Tsai administration seeks to diversify Taiwan’s trade and investment, there should be more and more opportunities for productive cooperation between Washington and Taipei.
Delegation with Representative Erik Paulsen (Minessota)

Team members with Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-Minnesota)

 

Visits

U.S. Executive Branch

  • National Security Council
  • Department of State
    • Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    • Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)
  • Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • American Institute in Taiwan/Washington
2016 DK Asst Secretary Kumar- Commerce

At the Department of Commerce, the group met with Arun Kumar, the Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion

U.S. Congress

  • Offices of 10 Senators and 15 Representatives
  • House Ways and Means Committee staff
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff
  • Congressional Research Service
2016 DK Senator Grassley

AmCham President Andrea Wu and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Other Organizations

  • AdvaMed
  • Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Brookings Institution
  • Council for Strategic and International Studies
  • DPP Liaison in Washington
  • Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)
  • National Foreign Trade Council
  • Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • PhRMA
  • Samuels International Associate
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S.-Taiwan Business Council
  • U.S. -Taiwan Business Forum
  • U.S. Green Building Council

Taiwan Representative

  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

Conference Highlights Energy Efficiency

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Robert Forden, Acting Director of AIT, addresses the participants of the US-Taiwan Global Cooperation and Training Framework Conference on Energy Efficiency in Asia.

“Logic will get you from A to Z. Imagination will get you anywhere.”

Leo Chen-Jan Lee, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, quoted Albert Einstein as he addressed the “Conference on Energy Efficiency in Asia,” held June 16 and 17 and hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bureau of Energy and the American Institute in Taiwan.

In the past several years, energy, climate change, and sustainable development have become key policy concerns for Taiwan, a nation that requires a stable and adequate energy supply for its semiconductor manufacturing and other high-tech industries. As an island, Taiwan cannot easily access the energy grids of its neighbors. In addition, lacking indigenous energy resources, it must import 98% of its energy supply from abroad.

In terms of electricity generation, thermal power plants – burning oil, coal, or LNG – account for nearly 78% of the supply, while nuclear takes up around 17% and renewable about 4%, according to the Bureau of Energy.

A major topic of recent discussion has been President Tsai Ing-wen’s ambitious energy-related goals: First, phasing out nuclear energy in Taiwan (creating a “Nuclear Free Homeland”), and second, reducing carbon emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2025.

“We need to be careful that in an emerging market, we don’t take policies exactly as they exist in developed countries and apply them without looking at the unique characteristics of that market.”

“One-size-fits-all” approach not viable

The two-day conference served as a platform for fruitful discussion on various aspects of energy efficiency, including policy and programs, industrial efficiency, commercial and residential building efficiency, and energy efficiency in the electricity system. The event, which was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, was attended by representatives from 13 Asian countries, as well as the United States and Australia, among others. Both public and private sectors were represented, illustrating the importance of inter-sectoral cooperation on this topic.

Speakers shared their own experiences, offering best practices for energy efficiency. Marc La France, a Senior Manager in the U.S. Department of Energy, stressed that a “one size fits all policy” would not work here. “We need to be careful that in an emerging market, we don’t take policies exactly as they exist in developed countries and apply them without looking at the unique characteristics of that market,” he explained.

The first day of the conference featured speakers from the Taiwanese and American governments, as well as from companies in both countries. The second day featured speakers from 10 Asian countries who shared their implementation experience. The conference was unique in that it not only featured prominent nations such as Australia and Japan, but small island nations as well, including the Marshall Islands and Palau.

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The conference featured speakers from all over the world and from both the private and public sectors.

Each session was followed by a question and answer period, and participants did not hesitate to ask difficult, and often very technical, questions. Several AmCham members, including President Andrea Wu, were present at the conference, listening to and networking with important energy players.

Energy in the White Paper

Energy is a key issue of the 2016 edition of the Taiwan White Paper, AmCham’s most important advocacy document, which was released several weeks ago. The White Paper contains a section on “Ensuring a Stable Energy Supply,” and urges the Taiwan government to provide “a clear, data-driven national energy plan” that includes “realistic energy goals” and “considers both energy demand and carbon-emission reduction goals.”

“The Taiwan government must ensure that Taiwan’s power supply continues to be sufficient, reliable, and competitively priced.”

Position papers in the document also advise the government to adopt new Demand Side Management technologies, provide more support for offshore wind farm development, and attract more FDI to participate in the government procurement market.

Overall, the paper recommends that the government “ensure that Taiwan’s power supply continues to be sufficient, reliable, and competitively priced.” But will Taiwan be able to do this while trying to meet some of the world’s most ambitious energy and carbon-abatement goals?

The 2016 Taiwan White Paper can be found online at www.amcham.com.tw/advocacy/white-paper.