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2017 Business Climate Survey Press Announcement

This morning, AmCham Taipei presented its 2017 Business Climate Survey report at a press conference held in AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room.

AmCham Chairman Albert Chang introduced the Business Climate Survey, highlighting key reasons why this year’s report is more meaningful than those of previous years: Taiwan is at a precipice of uncertainty in the international arena, and now it needs more than ever to pick up the pace in improving regulatory issues and attracting foreign investment.

Live video of the press conference, courtesy of McKinsey Taiwan

For this year’s survey, AmCham Taipei invited 412 voting representatives (usually the top executive) of the Chamber’s member companies to answer a series of questions about the business environment in an online questionnaire. In conducting the survey and analyzing the data, the Chamber was grateful for the professional guidance of Independent Marketing & Research.

Each year, we have intentionally asked our business leaders the same, or nearly the same, set of questions. As a result, we have been able to track the degree of progress – or the lack thereof – across key issues over that period.

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AmCham President Andrea Wu and Albert Chang, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company, co-present the 2017 Business Climate Survey Report to media representatives at the February 20 press conference.

To view the full press release, or download the 2017 BCS report, follow the links below:

2017 Business Climate Survey Press Release (English)

2017 Business Climate Survey Press Release (Chinese)

2017 Business Climate Survey Report (PDF) 

 

Participate on Join.gov.tw to Make Taiwan Better

Recently, the Executive Yuan instructed that all draft regulations of trade, investment, and intellectual property rights laws must be given a 60 day commenting period to allow feedback to be gathered from industry and the public. Furthermore, in order to generate the widest possible coverage, the Executive Yuan has instructed that such draft regulations should not only be announced through existing channels but also on its online portal, “Join,” accessible at ( https://join.gov.tw/ ).

Join, developed by National Development Council (NDC) with assistance from the office of Digital Minister Audrey Tang, facilitates two-way communication between government offices and members of the public on regulatory matters.

AmCham-Leaders-with-Minister-Tang

AmCham leaders paid a visit to Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, last year to encourage the enhancement of the Government’s web-based regulatory commenting system.

AmCham Taipei is calling  on its member companies, especially those in highly regulated sectors of the economy, to participate in carefully tracking the status of new regulations through join.gov.tw and to work through the Chamber’s industry committees to help prepare well-considered comments for posting on Join.

Through effective use of this platform, Taiwan has an opportunity to boost government efficiency, promote broader participation in public affairs, and create a sounder business environment that may stimulate increased investment leading to stronger economic growth.

For more information, you may also read our Editorial in the latest issue of Taiwan Business TOPICS Magazine here.

AmCham Makes Visits to Cabinet Ministers

An AmCham delegation led by Chairman Dan Silver meets with MOI Minister Yeh and his staff members.

An AmCham delegation led by Chairman Dan Silver meets with MOI Minister Yeh and his staff members.

In recent weeks, an AmCham Taipei delegation led by Chairman Dan Silver has called on two members of the Cabinet to exchange views on pertinent issues.

The first meeting was with Minister of Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong and members of his staff on September 26. The main topic was potential ways of enhancing Taiwan’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to increase the degree of transparency and public engagement in the process for making or revising government regulations. A former professor and vice dean at the National Taiwan University School of Law, Yeh has long had a keen interest in seeking ways to improve the rule-making process. The idea of creating an enhanced “Second Generation APA” has also been one of AmCham’s priority themes for the past two years, reflected in the annual Taiwan White Paper.

In the same spirit, the government of Premier Lin Chuan by executive order recently lengthened the time period for notice and comment on new regulations from 14 to 60 days, effective October 1. AmCham expressed its appreciation to Minister Yeh regarding this step, which the Chamber believes will lead to more effective regulations.

Also discussed was the Ministry of Interior’s ongoing efforts to review and modernize the rules governing non-government organizations (NGOs) in Taiwan.

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The second meeting, on October 17, was with newly appointed Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang, who has been designated as Taiwan’s first digital minister, with the mission of helping to create a more open government. Again, key topics were the expanded notice and comment period – and how to ensure that it is used by the private sector and government officials to optimum effectiveness – and the desirability of upgrading the existing APA.

Another subject was the new website join.gov.tw set up by the government earlier this year to enable members of the public to participate in the making of public policy by presenting and discussing proposals. Under Tang’s guidance, the site will be further refined and expanded in the months ahead.

Besides Dan Silver, other members of the delegation in both instances included AmCham President Andrea Wu, former chairman Paul Cassingham, Senior Director Don Shapiro, and Senior Director for Government and Public Affairs Amy Chang.

Post-Doorknock High-level Meetings

Following the annual AmCham Taipei Doorknock visit to Washington D.C., the Chamber leadership each year holds a round of meetings with high-ranking government officials to brief them on the results of the trip.

On July 27, a Chamber delegation led by Chairman Dan Silver met with Premier Lin Chuan at the Executive Yuan, discussing such issues as prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, regulatory coherence, energy policy, labor-related regulations, and the investment climate. Also in attendance were representatives from the National Development Council, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Labor.

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Similar delegations called on Secretary General Joseph Wu of the National Security Council on August 5 and on Vice Minister Leo Lee, substituting for Minister David Lee, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 8.

Additional meetings with other government ministries and relevant organizations are being scheduled

2016 post-doorknock

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

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.

AmCham Meets with Control Yuan

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Concerned about the low level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Taiwan in recent years compared with other countries in the Asia Pacific, the government’s Control Yuan has set up a task force to look into the reasons and propose solutions. The four Control Yuan members making up the task force – Chang Kuei-Mei, Nancy Hsiao-Hung Chen, Lee Yueh-Der, and Liu Te-Hsun – invited representatives from AmCham Taipei and other foreign and domestic business organizations for a discussion of the issue on May 19.

The Control Yuan, one of the five branches of government in the Republic of China, is an investigatory body that monitors the other branches of government. Wikipedia compares it roughly to the Government Accountability Office of the United States, the Court of Auditors of the European Union, a political ombudsman, or a standing commission for administrative inquiry. After completing its study, the task force on FDI plans to submit a report for the reference of the Executive Yuan.

At the May 19 meeting, AmCham Taipei was represented by Senior Director of Government & Public Affairs Amy Chang and Government & Public Affairs Director Katrina Ku. Other organizations that participated in the session were the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, the Chinese National Federation of Industries, and the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association.

The business representatives mentioned the complicated regulatory process and Taiwan’s lack of Free Trade Agreements with major trading partners as factors that tend to retard investment.

AmCham Committees Connect with USTR

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One of AmCham Taipei’s most important functions is to provide a channel for the concerns of member companies to be communicated, through the Chamber’s committees, to the U.S. government.

Throughout the year there are numerous opportunities to interact with the Economic and Commercial Sections of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and the annual Doorknock visit to Washington is a chance to meet with the key executive-branch agencies and Congressional offices interested in U.S.-Taiwan trade and investment relations.

Another such opportunity arises when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) send a delegation to Taiwan, which often occurs in the lead-up to the annual bilateral negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Such a delegation was in Taipei for a week toward the end of April, consisting of officers from USTR, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the AIT Washington office.

AmCham Taipei arranged for a series of meetings at which committee leaders briefed the U.S. government visitors on the latest developments in their sectors. The schedule included meetings covering the following topics:

  • Administrative Procedure Act
  • Agriculture
  • Imports & exports
  • Food safety
  • Retail
  • Intellectual Property & Licensing
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical Devices
  • Foreign investment
  • Private Equity

On behalf of the American delegation, Monica He of USTR expressed thanks to AmCham for providing a wide-ranging and thorough explanation of current issues. The 2016 round of the TIFA talks is expected to take place this fall.

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 

 

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