AmCham Releases 2016 Taiwan White Paper at Annual Luncheon

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Revamping the Taiwan government’s rules-making procedures, preparing a stellar case for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) candidacy, ensuring a stable and reliable supply of energy and water, and boosting Taiwan’s ability to attract and retain talent – these were the main recommendations presented by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei when launching the 2016 Taiwan White Paper on June 2.

Nearly a hundred AmCham Taipei members and guests gathered at the Regent Taipei for the release of the annual benchmark advocacy document, which provides the Chamber’s recommendations to the Taiwan government on ways to strengthen the Taiwan business climate. This year’s White Paper proposed a total of 80 suggestions from 20 AmCham committee plus three other industry groups.

Accepting the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government was Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the National Development Council (NDC).

AmCham Chairman Dan Silver told the audience that “Taiwan can be a leader across many, many fields and can achieve things that other economies and countries in the region cannot.” But he added that “action is needed” for these positive developments to occur.

Deputy Minister Kung accepted the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Deputy Minister Kung accepted the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Silver emphasized the government’s need for a more transparent regulatory process, calling attention to Taiwan’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a statute that governs the country’s regulation-making procedures. “We are calling on the administrative to look at the APA as an opportunity to step up engagement with the public at the Executive Yuan level,” he stated. Currently, Taiwan’s public-comment period is only seven days, which Silver argued does not allow ample time for feedback. In addition, government agencies normally do not respond to the public comments.

Extending the notification and comment period to 60 days, providing a single website as the platform for feedback to proposed regulations by all government agencies, and requiring the agencies to post their response would create a more transparent process and result in more effective and practical regulations, Silver said. APA reform would also “provide solid evidence of Taiwan’s seriousness about promoting its second-round candidacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he added.

APA reform would “provide solid evidence of Taiwan’s seriousness about promoting its second-round candidacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” 

The chairman also highlighted the need for the government to ensure a stable energy supply as it tries both to phase out nuclear power and sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the White Paper, AmCham urges the government to present a detailed, data-driven and realistic plan for meeting future energy demand. Silver also discussed the need for labor regulations that suit the desire by knowledge workers to enjoy flexible working conditions that spur innovation and creativity. 

Chairman Dan Silver presented (?) the WP earlier that day at a press conference

Chairman Silver presented the advocacy document as a press conference earlier that day.

Looking back at the issues raised in the 2015 edition of the White Paper, Silver noted that six issues had been completely resolved, while another eight have shown significant progress. The resolved issues include two each from the Asset Management and Banking Committees, one from Sustainable Development, and one from Technology.

In remarks after accepting the 2016 White Paper, Deputy Minister Kung emphasized the crucial importance for Taiwan’s economic future of gaining membership in the second round of TPP. He also touched on the issues of attracting foreign talent and curbing domestic brain drain, suggesting possible stipends for Taiwanese students to matriculate abroad in exchange for commitments to return to work domestically after graduating.

“Within the first 100 days after Tsai’s inauguration, there is a real opportunity to articulate goals and point the economy in the right direction for improvement.”

He also underscored the new government’s desire to improve public communication and coordination among government agencies. He noted that under the Tsai Ing-wen administration, the NDC will play an even more important role, in that Cabinet ministers will attend Council meetings and develop a consensus on economic policies before they are submitted to the Executive Yuan for final approval.

As the new government has been in office only since May 20, the White Paper comes at an important transitional time for Taiwan. Silver noted that “within the first 100 days after Tsai’s inauguration, there is a real opportunity to articulate goals and point the economy in the right direction for improvement.”

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

Vice-President-elect Attends AmCham Event on Biotech

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On April 21, AmCham hosted Vice-President-elect Chen Chien-Jen at a special luncheon event, Opportunities and Challenges for Taiwan to Become a Biotech Hub in Asia. Dr. Chen sent a strong signal to the AmCham community that the new administration is committed to creating a favorable environment for biotech in Taiwan.

Dr. Chen was joined by other members of the newly minted cabinet, including Minister-designate of Health and Welfare Lin Tzou-yien, Minister-designate of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung, and Minister without Portfolio-designate Wu Tsung-tsong.

Sponsored jointly by the Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, and Public Health committees, the luncheon held at the Sherwood Hotel featured presentations by AmCham chairman Dan Silver and standing Vice-Chairman Margaret Driscoll.

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Silver kicked off the event with an overview of the latest advances in medical devices. Bringing together IT, big data, and mechanical and biological engineering, they promised better and more cost-effective healthcare.

Silver observed that Taiwan is well-positioned to leverage its strengths in medicine and IT for a bright future in biotech, provided that Taiwan can provide a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation.

Taiwan is well-positioned to leverage its strengths in medicine and IT for a bright future in biotech, provided that Taiwan can provide a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation.

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Driscoll’s presentation on the pharmaceutical industry noted the lengthy time frames and high costs of developing new drugs, and observed that Taiwan’s highly innovative biotech industry would benefit from developing partnerships with multinationals to build global competitiveness.

Some highlights from luncheon and Q&A include:

  • The new administration is “not waiting for May 20 (Inauguration Day)” but is already working with the outgoing administration and the Legislative Yuan to increase support for biotech.
  • The new government pledges to accelerate the review of clinical trials and supports a bill that has been submitted to the Legislative Yuan to reorganize the Center for Drug Evaluation to speed up the approval process for new drug applications.
  • An inter-ministry task force on biotech will be created, coordinated by Minister without Portfolio-designate Wu and including representatives from the Ministries of Health and Welfare, Economic Affairs, and Science and Technology.
  • The new administration is looking to increase collaboration between Taiwanese biotech firms and multinationals as well as among research institutions, government, and corporations to expand Taiwan’s overall biotech industry.

 

AmCham delegation visits Premier-designate Lin Chuan

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An AmCham Taipei delegation led by Chairman Dan Silver met with Premier-designate Lin Chuan on April 8 to brief him on some issues impacting the business environment in Taiwan. Lin was accompanied by Dr. Shih Jun-Ji, who will serve in the new government as one of the Ministers without Portfolio.

The discussion covered the following issues:

  • Suggested revision of the Administrative Procedure Act to create greater transparency and consultation with stakeholders in the regulation-making process. Examples of recent problems in the retail sector were cited.
  • The need for a more transparent and predictable foreign investment approval process.
  • Ideas for making Taiwan more competitive in attracting and retaining talent. These include creating reviewing the current income tax structure, revising work permit and visa requirements, and allowing for more flexible rules on working hours for white-collar workers.
  • The need to assure a stable and cost-competitive energy supply for Taiwan industry

“We were honored to have the chance to meet with the prospective new Premier even before his taking office. Dr. Lin was already familiar with many of our issues from reading our Taiwan White Paper, but it was an excellent opportunity to offer further explanation. We look forward to frequent and positive interaction with the new government in the months ahead.” — AmCham Taipei President Andrea Wu

Read and download the AmCham Taipei White Paper here. 

The delegation consisted of:

  • AmCham Taipei Chairman Dan Silver, General Manager of Abbott Vascular Hong Kong & Taiwan
  • Andrea Wu, AmCham Taipei President.
  • Daniel Tseng, AmCham Taipei Vice Chairman and President of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan.
  • Paul Cassingham, Former Chairman of AmCham Taipei and Senior Legal Consultant, Eiger.
  • Vincent Shih, AmCham Taipei Governor and General Manager of Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs, Microsoft Taiwan.
  • Wern-Yuen Tan, Managing Director, McDonald’s Restaurants (Taiwan)
  • Don Shapiro, AmCham Taipei Senior Director and Editor-in-Chief, Taiwan Business TOPICS
  • Katrina Ku, AmCham Taipei Director of Government and Public Affairs 

 

Taiwan to Join U.S. Global Entry Program

Taiwan enters Us Global Entry Program (Photo:Wikipedia)

The ease and convenience of the 2012 U.S. visa waiver program offered to Taiwanese visitors to the United States propelled visits by some 50%. In the near future, travel for approved Taiwanese visitors will be even easier and more convenient with the inclusion of Taiwan into the U.S. Global Entry program.

On April 4, Joseph Donovan Jr., managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and Shen Lyushun, head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington, signed an agreement that lays the groundwork for Taiwan to enter into the Global Entry program. While the details have not been finalized, the agreement sets Taiwan on a course for being only the eighth country in the world, and the second in Asia, to provide its citizens with the opportunity to use the Global Entry program.

Global Entry allows pre-approved visitors to skip the long lines at immigration by going to a special kiosk that will scan their passports and fingerprints automatically, allowing them speedy entry into the United States. The program is aimed at low-risk, frequent travelers who have undergone extensive background checks and in-person interviews.

The offer of Global Entry is being reciprocated by Taiwan, which will allow pre-approved U.S. visitors to Taiwan the opportunity to use Taiwan’s E-Gate program, likewise enabling them to avoid the long lines at Taiwan immigration.

Both programs reflect flourishing ties between the two countries, with trade, travel, and research cooperation all growing in recent years. U.S. visitors are now the fifth largest cohort to Taiwan, the only non-Asian country in the top-10.

48th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan Continues Tradition

AmCham Taipei Hsieh Nien Fan

Continuing a long tradition, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 48th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 30 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

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. Nearly 700 AmCham members and guests attended.

President Ma Ying-jeou was once again the keynote speaker, and AmCham Taipei presented him with a plaque in gratitude for his participation at 15 Hsieh Nien Fan banquets during his tenure both as President and before that as Mayor of Taipei. Another special guest was Kurt Tong, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, who was introduced by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Kin Moy. The master of ceremonies was attorney Peter Dernbach, a co-chair of AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Vice Chairman Margaret Driscoll, standing in for Chairman Dan Silver, who was overseas and unable to attend the event. Driscoll expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan.

President Ma Ying-jeou speaks at AmCham Taipei's 48th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

President Ma’ speech outlined his administration’s accomplishments, including the successful promotion of a “free, just, and prosperous Taiwan, a peaceful Taiwan Strait, and a friendly international environment.” He stressed the urgency of Taiwan’s participation in emerging regional trade groups such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as the importance of maintaining a stable and reliable energy supply.

AIT Director Moy praised AmCham Taipei’s “constructive role” in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship and credited President Ma with achieving “something that few thought could be done: simultaneously improving relations with both Washington and Beijing.”

In his remarks, Kurt Tong expressed appreciation for AmCham Taipei’s “constructive, regular outreach to the Taiwan authorities” and for the “efforts of the AmCham Taipei leadership and membership in underscoring how valuable TPP can be to your companies and to the U.S. economic presence in Asia.”

AmCham Taipei Hsieh Nien Fan 2016

High-level dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Security Council Deputy Secretaries-General Andrew Kao and Liu Da-nien
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin
  • Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng
  • Environmental Protection Minister Wei Kuo-yen
  • Minister without Portfolio Chung Char-dir
  • National Development Council Minister Steve Chu-chia Lin

The evening was made possible by 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, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China, and UBS.
  • Wine & Liquor: Fratello F&B Int. Ltd., Diageo Taiwan