Posts

U.S. Treasury Officials Call at AmCham

During a mid-July visit to Taiwan, Mitchell Silk, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Markets at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, met at Amcham Taipei with members of the Chamber’s infrastructure, energy, and banking committees. He was accompanied by David Gottfried, Deputy Director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Investment, Energy, and Infrastructure.

The Treasury officials were visiting various countries in East Asia to explore such topics as debt market development, increasing private sector participation in public infrastructure projects, and promoting competitive procurement policies.

Before joining the government in October 2017, Silk had a 30-year legal career specializing in energy and infrastructure matters, asset management, banking and finance, especially in Asia. He speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese.

AmCham “CEO Mission to Washington” Trip

Each year, the release of the Taiwan White Paper is followed by a “CEO Mission to Washington”. The central purpose of the trip is to promote the Chamber’s agenda for this year and facilitate its advocacy efforts. The delegation will exchange views with U.S. government officials, members of Congress, think tanks, and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. This is an opportunity for AmCham to provide briefings on the business climate in Taiwan and to learn about the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Taiwan, especially at a time of growing pressure from China.

The group will present the Taiwan White Paper to contacts in Washington and remind them of the economic and strategic importance of Taiwan. In the Messages to Washington section of the Taiwan White Paper, AmCham urges the U.S. administration and Congress to take into consideration ways to broaden and deepen the American relationship with Taiwan.

Read or download the complete Taiwan White Paper.

  • Suggestion 1: Enter into negotiations with Taiwan for a bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
  • Suggestion 2: Set the stage for BTA negotiations through the resumption of TIFA Council meetings.
  • Suggestion 3: Arrange more high-level government visits in both directions.
  • Suggestion 4: Implement tax reforms to relieve burdens on Americans overseas and help promote U.S. exports.

Chairman Leo Seewald delivers remarks commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act at AmCham’s Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 51st annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on April 10th in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Opening the evening, AmCham Taipei Leo Seewald delivers remarks commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. The act has special significance for the Chamber because the organization played a key role in drafting the legislation exactly 40 years ago.

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

President Tsai, Deputy Assistant Secretary Meale, AIT Director Christensen, Distinguished Guests, and Chamber Members:

Good evening! I’m delighted to welcome all of you to the 51st annual Hsieh Nien Fan of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei!

This year’s Hsieh Nien Fan is particularly significant because, as you have heard in the videos, it also coincides with the signing into law of the Taiwan Relations Act on exactly this date 40 years ago. I understand there is also party commemorating this event in Washington DC in just a few hours, so if any of you are looking for a good after party, you might be able to make it if you catch tonight’s flight out.

In the meantime, for those who do not know, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) forms the basis of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and has helped create stability for Taiwan to prosper. It is the legal foundation that has made possible four decades of ever-stronger ties in such areas as trade, investment and an extremely broad range of cultural, educational, and scientific cooperation.

1978 and 1979 was a defining period for the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan as the Chamber stepped up and played a key role assuring continuity by advocating for a stable, secure relationship between the US and Taiwan.  A bit of history… The initial draft TRA legislation was too vague, so the then-AmCham chairman, Robert Parker, made several trips to Washington where he testified before Congressional committees.  He called for a clear statement of American commitment to Taiwan’s stability, as well as assurances that the substance of the bilateral relationship would be maintained despite the change in form.

Among the many scholars and other experts who also testified, Mr. Parker – on behalf of AmCham – was the main voice of the business community, stressing the importance to American businesses of being able to operate in an environment of security and certainty. Thankfully, the final version of the TRA addressed those concerns.

During the same period, the termination of the U.S. diplomatic presence in Taiwan put in jeopardy the legal standing of numerous American community institutions – everything from the Taipei American School, the American Club and youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as well as the English-language radio station (now famously known in Taiwan as ICRT)-

Can you imagine a Taiwan without A-foo’s taxi? And who would still be playing Air Supply? In any case, again AmCham stepped forward, taking the lead in ensuring new arrangements were made to preserve these institutions for future generations.

That period in 1979 was an example of AmCham stepping up to protect its members and the stability of Taiwan and was certainly one of AmCham’s finest hours… but it’s not the only example of the Chamber taking on big issues and playing an important part in Taiwan’s history.

The central theme for AmCham has always been (and will continue to be) the stability and prosperity of Taiwan.  We often make the point that the success of our members is inseparably tied to the success of Taiwan. Most of our members have been operating in Taiwan for more than 20 years- in fact, this year marks the 55th anniversary for Citibank, the 50th for 3M, 35th for HSBC, and 30th for both Microsoft and Cigna, as examples.

It is in this spirit that we cooperate with the Taiwan government to help suggest areas of improvement.  Last June, when we launched the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, we were very pleased to be able to announce that a record number of issues from the previous year’s had been resolved. This year, with a few months still left in the White Paper cycle (and before election fever grips the country) I hope we’ll again have a very productive outcome -but there’s still some work to do!

It is important to note that last year’s white paper success could not be achieved without the strong partnership the Chamber has built up with Taiwan government officials at all levels. Our Hsieh Nien Fan is our chance to say thank you to the many members of the Taiwan government that we’ve worked with over the past year – and to let you know how much we appreciate the excellent cooperation you’ve given us.

We also appreciate and thank the outstanding support we receive from our friends at AIT and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Meale’s presence here tonight is a sign of that support. Thank you DAS Meale for making the trip-

Given our legacy and dedication, AmCham stands ready to offer our support for Taiwan through what now appears to be another period of dramatic change.  Supply chains are shifting, climate-change issues demand attention, and disruptive new technologies – everything from cloud computing, 3D printing to the digital economy– are rapidly transforming the way business is done. The companies AmCham represents are world leaders in driving innovation and as Taiwan confronts the challenges of this new technology-driven economy, the Taiwan government should know that it has a steadfast friend and supporter in the American Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, and most importantly, as the AmCham business climate survey points out, our members believe Taiwan has a bright future and we are all on the same side to make that happen!

With that thought, I would like to thank President Tsai, for joining us once again as our keynote speaker.  It is always a pleasure to have you with us and we appreciate the determination that you, Premier Su, and the other members of the Administration have shown in ensuring that Taiwan remains a vigorous part of the global economic community.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming her Excellency, President Tsai Ing-wen to the podium….

AmCham Delegation Calls on new Premier Su Tseng-chang

AmCham Taipei representatives led by Chairman Leo Seewald met with Premier Su Tseng-chang on January 21 to congratulate him on his recent appointment as premier. The Premier was accompanied by National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling and other officials from the Executive Yuan.

Besides Mr. Seewald, who is the Chairman/Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Management (Taiwan) Limited, the AmCham delegation consisted of:

  • William Foreman, AmCham Taipei President.
  • Dylan Tyson, AmCham Taipei Supervisor and Insurance Committee Co-Chair, who is President & CEO of Prudential Life Insurance Company of Taiwan Inc.
  • Don Shapiro, AmCham Taipei Senior Director and Editor-in-Chief, Taiwan Business TOPICS
  • Amy Chang, AmCham Taipei Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs

2018 AmCham Doorknock – June 18-22

The Chamber’s annual “Doorknock” visit to Washington DC this year took place between June 18 and 22. The group held a total of 45 meetings, including calls on the State Department, Commerce Department, National Security Council, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, dozens of Congressional offices, and leading think tanks. The delegation, which was led by AmCham President William Foreman and Vice Chairman Leo Seewald, was also invited for tea by Taiwan’s representative in Washington, Stanley Kao, at the Twin Oaks estate owned by Taiwan.

Delegation members visit the State Department.

The Doorknock group with Commerce Department officials.

A central purpose of the Doorknock was to remind contacts in Washington of “why Taiwan matters,” including its rank as the United States’ 11th largest trading partner, integral role in the supply chain of major American technology companies, vibrant democracy, and sharing of basic American values. The delegation also urged the U.S. government to schedule regular consultations with Taiwan under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) umbrella, explore entering into negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement, and send more high-level American officials on visits to Taiwan. In both executive and legislative branch offices, the group heard expressions of desire to deepen the economic relationship between the United States and Taiwan, especially if existing trade differences surrounding the export of U.S. meat products could be resolved.

The delegation was received at the U.S. Trade Representative.

Delegation members with Congressman Gregg Harper (R-MS).

Besides Foreman and Seewald, other members of the delegation included Wendy Lin, General Manager of Johnson & Johnson Taiwan and a co-chair of AmCham’s Pharmaceutical Committee; Petra Jumpers, General Manager of Eli Lilly and Co. (Taiwan) and another Pharmaceutical Committee co-chair; Christine Kuan, External Affairs & Market Access Director at Bristol-Myers Squibb (Taiwan), representing the Public Health Committee; Natasha Lai, Senior New Product Planning & Government Affairs Manager for Eli Lilly (Taiwan); T.K. Lo, Technical & Regulatory Manager at Amway Taiwan; Lynn Cinelli, Director of Emerging Markets Public Policy for Merck Sharp & Dohme; Nathan Kaiser of the law firm Eiger; Don Shapiro, AmCham Senior Director and Editor-in-Chief of Taiwan Business TOPICS; and Any Chang, AmCham Senior Director for Government and Public Affairs.

For many meetings they were joined by the Washington-based representatives of AmCham member companies or cooperative organizations, including AdvaMed, Amway, Bechtel, Cigna, Herbalife, Medtronic, Microsoft, Prudential, and Versum Materials.

While traversing the halls of Congress, the AmCham Doorknockers met a large delegation of Taiwanese-American businesspeople from the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce who were on a similar mission.

2018 Messages to Washington

Following release each year of the Taiwan White PaperAmCham Taipei sends a delegation to Washington D.C. for what is called the “Washington Doorknock.” This year’s Doorknock will take place June 18-22, and will involve more than 40 meetings with U.S. government officials from the executive and legislative branch offices, think tanks, and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. It is always an excellent opportunity for AmCham to provide briefings on the state of the business climate in Taiwan and to learn about the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Taiwan and the Asian region.

The Messages to Washington section of the Taiwan White Paper outlines the essential points AmCham wishes to share with the U.S. government, as shown in the accompanying infographicDownload the complete Taiwan White Paper.

 

AmCham Meets with Washington Visitors

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

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

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

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

AmCham’s 13 Issues for Special Attention

During the preparation of the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, AmCham Taipei’s committees reviewed and rated the status of issues raised in the 2017 White Paper. Based on a five-tier scale, 21 items were placed in Category 2, meaning “Showing Good Progress.” Of the 21 items, eight were identified by the committees as having strong enough progress that the issue did not need to be raised again. The other 13 issues rated in Category 2 reappear in this year’s White Paper. 

Although all of the 76 suggestions raised in this year’s Taiwan White Paper are important and deserve consideration, AmCham Taipei recommends that the authorities pay special attention to these re-raised 13 issues below. Committee experts are confident that the positive momentum from this past year’s collaboration with the Taiwan government through the National Development Council will continue, hopefully enabling these 13 issues to be fully resolved.

AmCham Taipei has put together an infographic summarizing these Category 2 issues, spanning across 8 industries from Banking to Travel & Tourism.

 

AmCham Taipei Banquet Provides Forum for State Dept. Official’s Remarks

Speaking at AmCham Taipei’s 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet at the Grand Hyatt on March 21, Alex Wong, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, staunchly reaffirmed American government support for Taiwan.

Stating that “the United States has been, is, and always will be Taiwan’s closest friend and partner,” Wong said “the aim of U.S. policy is to ensure that Taiwan’s people can continue along their chosen path, free from coercion.” He told the audience of 700 AmCham members and guests, including President Tsai Ing-wen and more than 100 other Taiwan government officials, that American commitment to the goals of strengthening ties with the Taiwan people and bolstering Taiwan’s ability to defend its democracy “has never been stronger.”

The State Department official also referred to Taiwan’s constitutional democracy as an example for the entire Indo-Pacific region, adding that Taiwan should no longer be “excluded unjustly” from international forums.

“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan doesn’t change from administration to administration or from president to president,” Wong said. “It doesn’t change with the rise or fall of the fortunes of other powers in the region. It doesn’t change with the emergence of new challenges or new threats.”

Wong’s remarks were widely covered by the Taiwanese and international media, including The New York Times.  The full text is posted on the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) website.

In introducing the Deputy Assistant Secretary, AIT Director Kin Moy cited several positive recent developments in Taiwan on issues that AmCham Taipei had advocated – Taiwan’s enhancement of transparency by adopting a 60-day notice and comment period for new laws and regulations, and its bolstering of intellectual property rights by preparing to establish a patent linkage system for pharmaceuticals.

Earlier in the evening, President Tsai continued the tradition of the Taiwan president addressing the Chamber’s annual signature event. She hailed the “positive direction Taiwan-U.S. relations have taken over the past few years,” including President Trump’s signing of the Taiwan Travel Act into law, encouraging more visits back and forth by government officials.

She also praised AmCham Taipei’s work in advancing bilateral relations and improving the investment environment in Taiwan through its Doorknock delegations to Washington, publication of the Taiwan White Paper  and Taiwan Business TOPICS magazine, and conducting its annual Business Climate Surveys.

The evening’s program began with remarks from 2018 AmCham Chairman Albert Chang, a former classmate of Alex Wong’s at Harvard Law School. Chang, the managing partner in Taiwan for McKinsey & Co., noted that favorable results of AmCham Taipei’s recent Business Climate Survey and praised the accomplishments of Taiwan’s past 50 years of economic development. But he also cited the survey’s findings that “60% of our member companies believe we need more policymaker engagement with the private sector in setting regulations” and that “90% believe that in an innovation-based economy, professional and managerial talent should be exempted from the labor law” provisions on working hours.

View the full photo gallery here.

High-level dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Policy Advisor to the President of the President’s Office Mei-Yueh Ho
  • Secretary General of Legislative Yuan Jih-Jia Lin
  • Minister of National Development Council Mei-Ling Chen
  • Secretary-General of National Security Council David Tawei Lee
  • Chairman of Financial Supervisory Commission Wellington L. Koo
  • Minister of Ministry of Transportation and Communications Tan Ho-Chen
  • Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology Liang-Gee Chen
  • Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare Shih-Chung Chen
  • Minister of Environmental Protection Administration Ying-Yuan Lee
  • Chairperson of National Communications Commission Nicole,T.I. Chan

The evening was made possible by the following sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
  • Gold Sponsors: Corning Display Technologies; Franklin Templeton Securities; Standard Chartered Bank
  • Silver Sponsors: 3M Taiwan, HSBC Bank, JT Tobacco International, and Micron Tech Asia Pacific Taiwan
  • Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, AllianceBernstein Investments, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, Versum Materials
  • General Sponsors: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, P & G, SEMI Taiwan, The Tobacco Institute of the ROC
  • Wine & Liquor: Sergio Valente and Diageo

Commerce Department Officials Call at AmCham

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

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

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