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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.

Chairman Albert Chang remarks at AmCham’s 50th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 21st in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

AmCham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang opened the evening by expressing thanks to Taiwan government officials, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other friends of the Chamber for their shared support in strengthening the US-Taiwan partnership.

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

Good evening! Madam President, AIT Director Moy, Deputy Assistant Secretary Wong, and Distinguished Guests, welcome to AmCham Taipei’s 50th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan.

This is a historic night. We have over seven hundred people here tonight – this is more than we have ever had in half a century of history! We are also joined tonight by Alex Wong. Alex is a dear friend.  We met ten years ago when we were together at Harvard Law School, and he is one of the smartest people that I have ever met.  And so when I called him several months ago inviting him to Taiwan, I was really happy that he accepted, because I am so happy to see my old friend again.  Then when I woke up this morning, I saw a hundred articles about his visit here and the Taiwan Travel Act, these Rockstar pictures. You know Alex, please don’t go getting a big head now, the timing is just a coincidence.

But to be sure, Alex is also the most senior State Department official covering Asia that we have ever had joining our Hsieh Nien Fan in fifty years. Isn’t that amazing? But, to be honest Alex, with all the personnel changes on Twitter these days, we weren’t sure if you would actually make it.

We also want to welcome AIT Director Moy. Kin Moy is also someone that has become a true friend of AmCham.  His genuine passion for Taiwan and his sincere outreach to the community have left a legacy that will be remembered for a long time.

You know my friend, I had all these jokes I wanted to tell about you, but as our AmCham team learned from your speech last year, and as they keep reminding me, “Albert, don’t even try, because Kin Moy is just much funnier than you are.”

We also want to welcome the one hundred government officials here tonight. We are honored to have President Tsai Ing-wen, with us as our keynote speaker – thank you for joining us Madam President. We also welcome almost every Minister and senior official from all branches of government.

Last year, we all had a great dinner together…and then a few months later I ruined your day with news that none of the eighty issues in our White Paper had been solved…

But don’t worry, you can enjoy your dinner this evening, because, after a year of work, out of the eighty issues raised, we have now solved……five.

If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is…

It’s OK everyone, we still have a few more months to go. Jia You!

In all seriousness, there is a lot to celebrate. Fifty years ago, per capita GDP was less than US$400, today it is over US$22,000.  Exports were about to exceed US$1 billion dollars a year for the first time ever.  Today, Taiwan exports that much in one day.

Taiwan’s economic story has been a miracle. And it is only because of that miracle that today, our Business Climate Survey shows that over 80% of our member companies say they are confident that their revenues will grow here over the next three years.  Over half say they plan to increase their employment this year.

Citibank’s main site in Taipei is among its busiest in the world; Corning and Micron both maintain their largest international operations in Taiwan. For McKinsey, Microsoft, Google, Cigna, and many others – Taiwan is one of their central hubs in Asia.  Costco’s Taichung store is the company’s global leader in customers and sales – I hear when everyone in Taiwan was rushing to buy toilet paper, Costco was the only place that had any left!  That’s amazing!

But, despite the accomplishments over the last fifty years…we all share this underlying sense…this nagging feeling…almost among all of us…that Taiwan could be so much more. We all imagine a Taiwan in ten years that looks different…where starting salaries are on the rise rather than at the same level as they were three decades ago…where talent flows inward from all corners of the world rather than only outward…where Taiwan is the place for foreign investment, home to ten times more international companies, thought of in the same way as a Hong Kong or a Singapore – as the place in Asia to invest and the place from which to do business in Asia.

But we know that image we have for a future Taiwan is not what Taiwan looks like today. Because the truth is, if Taiwan wants to be at the center of gravity of a 21st century economy, then it needs a 21st century labor and regulatory system. And here, there is more work to do, in 3 areas.

First, on regulations, 60% of our member companies believe we need more policymaker engagement with the private sector in setting regulations. Second, on labor, 90% believe that in an innovation-based economy, professional and managerial talent should be exempted from the labor law. And third, on the White Paper, there is wide consensus that if we just met global standards, putting us on par with Japan or similar developed economies, then we’d solve most of our 80 issues.

What this tells us is that we need deeper partnership between the public and private sectors. And we need to see labor and regulatory breakthroughs that will spur 10x more investment here. In the spirit of that deeper partnership, we are excited to announce that AmCham has proposed to the Administration that we jointly create an Industry Summit Council. This Council’s aim will be to attract more investment to Taiwan under the pillars of 5+2, and to facilitate the breakthroughs in regulatory improvements to make that possible.  We are excited to roll out the details shortly.

I believe we are all here tonight for some reason. Almost 50 years ago, my parents left Taiwan for the US as young students. My dad was a top student here, and when he first arrived to the US, he almost lost his scholarship because he struggled with his English. Fifty years later, as one of four children, I came back here. And I came back because I believe that there is something special about this place. Because I believe Taiwan’s economic miracle is not over.

And I think if we look around this room, that’s a belief we all share. This idea that Taiwan has not yet reached its full potential.  But that it is within reach.  And if we are going to have any chance to get there, we will have to do it together. That is our shared belief, and that is what binds all of us in this room tonight.

To President Tsai, Director Moy, and DAS Wong, let me extend our warmest welcome to you, and invite you to join us in this vision of deeper partnership together. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, Her Excellency, President Tsai Ing-wen.

“Memo from Taipei” Goes to International Contacts

This month AmCham Taipei sent out the latest edition of our periodic Memo from Taipei designed to update the Chamber’s friends and contacts abroad about the latest developments here. The Memo went to a mailing list of about 135 people, including Washington-based government affairs representatives from our member companies, as well as U.S. government officials, think tank scholars, and others who follow U.S.-Taiwan relations closely.

If your company has a Washington representative that you would like added to the mailing list, please let us know.

The latest Memo announced the appointment of William Foreman as the new President of AmCham Taipei, Albert Chang’s reelection as Chairman for 2018, and the list of other Standing Officers for this year. It also conveyed the following information:

Progress in 2017

  • The Legislative Yuan finished the year on a high note by passing long-awaited amendments to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act instituting a system of Patent Linkage for pharmaceuticals for the first time. The proposal had been in AmCham Taipei’s Taiwan White Paper for more than a decade, as well as on the agenda of the bilateral TIFA talks between Taiwan and the U.S. The new law creates a mechanism to ensure that generic forms of drugs still under valid patent in Taiwan cannot legally enter the market, and represents a major advance for Taiwan’s intellectual property rights protection.
  • At AmCham Taipei’s urging, the Executive Yuan in October 2016 increased the notice and comment period for new regulations and trade-related legislation from a mere 14 days to a full 60 days, except in cases of emergency. During the past year the Chamber, working together with the National Development Council (NDC), has been tracking the degree of adherence to that provision – and has seen a steady increase in compliance. AmCham’s emphasis is now on encouraging stakeholders to submit their comments and government agencies to provide meaningful feedback. If such dialogue can become the norm, many of the past difficulties in the regulatory regime could be prevented, the Chamber believes.
  • When the 2017 Taiwan White Paper was issued last June, it was disclosed that none of the 80 White Paper issues from the previous edition had been fully resolved. In response, the Taiwan government scheduled a series of quarterly meetings with AmCham committee representatives to discuss outstanding White Paper items in hopes of raising the success rate. So far two such meetings have been held, presided over by an NDC Vice Minister. Final results will be analyzed at the end of a one-year cycle.

 

2018 Advocacy Items

  • AmCham Taipei was disappointed that President Trump chose to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as the Chamber viewed the TPP as important for American leadership in the Asia Pacific and hoped that Washington would support Taiwan’s desire to entire the TPP in a second round. Given the President’s aversion to multilateral trade agreements, however, we now urge the United States to consider entering into a bilateral trade agreement with Taiwan, its 10th largest trading partner. We are convinced that such negotiations are the best way to resolve existing bilateral trade issues and to deepen the economic cooperation between the two countries. From both an economic and strategic point of view, this step would be in the best interests of the U.S. At the same time, AmCham Taipei encourages Taiwan to seek eventual membership in the apparent successor to the TPP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
  • The Chamber’s member companies, particularly those engaged in high-tech manufacturing, continue to be concerned about the future sufficiency, reliability, and cost of electricity in this market. The Taiwan government has committed itself to shutting down all nuclear power plants by 2025, at the same time sharply cutting back on carbon emissions. AmCham Taipei does not take issue with the aims of the policy, but questions remain as to whether it can be implemented within the designated timeframe given the many challenges involved in rapidly expanding reliance on wind and solar power, as well as the infrastructure to receive imported LNG. For their business planning, both multinational and domestic companies need a clearer energy roadmap from the authorities.
  • The amended Labor Standards Act that took effect last year – instituting new rules for working hours, overtime, and other working conditions – was highly controversial and left both employers and employees dissatisfied. A revised version now before the Legislative Yuan may be a slight improvement but does not tackle what AmCham Taipei considers to be the crux of the problem – the failure to distinguish between professional/managerial personnel and blue-collar workers. Taiwan’s avowed aspiration to develop an innovation-driven economy will not be furthered by treating knowledge workers the same way as those on a factory production line, for example requiring them to clock in and clock out. In fact, that requirement is wholly impractical in an age of global interconnectedness and will constitute a deterrent to investment.

2017 Doorknock Delegation to Washington

AmCham Taipei’s 2017 Doorknock visit to Washington D.C. from June 26 to 30 conducted a total of 45 meetings with U.S. government executive branch agencies (including the State Department, Commerce Department, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), Congressional offices, think tanks, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative office in the U.S. (TECRO), and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship.

Delegation members with U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Congressman Ed Royce

The group was led by Chamber Chairman Albert Chang, Vice Chair Dan Silver, and President Andrea Wu, and also included Raghavendra Shenoy, co-chair of the Medical Devices Committee, Board Supervisor, and General Manager of Johnson & Johnson Medical Taiwan Ltd.; Jenny Zheng, co-chair of the Pharmaceutical Committee and Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Taiwan Ltd.; Emily Chiang of Medtronic (Taiwan) Ltd.; Stephen Y. Tan of K&L Gates; William Vocke of the Foundation for Scholarly Exchange (Fulbright Taiwan); Lynn Cinelli of MSD Taiwan; Don Shapiro, AmCham Taipei Senior Director; and Amy Chang, AmCham Taipei Senior Director for Government & Public Affairs. They were joined for various meetings by the Washington representatives of such member companies as Bechtel, Cigna, Dell, Eli Lilly and Company, Merck, and Microsoft.

Delegation members with Congressman Ted Yoho

AmCham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang with Congressman Ted Yoho

“A lot has changed in Washington since the Trump administration took office, including a new emphasis on targeting U.S. trade deficits with its trading partners, so it was very useful for us to hear from people first-hand about their expectations for the U.S.-Taiwan relationship,” said Andrea Wu. “For the most part, we heard a hard line on outstanding trade issues from the executive agencies, but tempered by widespread expressions of support for Taiwan from members of Congress.”

Team members with U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

A full report on the Doorknock will appear in the August issue of Taiwan Business TOPICS, both the print and online editions.