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AmCham Leadership Quarterly Meeting

Members of the leadership of AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan held their first quarterly meeting of the year on Feb. 14 at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room. AmCham leaders briefed AIT Director Brent Christensen and his colleagues on the results of the Chamber’s Business Climate Survey, including factors causing concern for global companies operating in Taiwan. The two sides also exchanged views on bilateral economic ties and discussed opportunities to work closely together in the coming year in observance of the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act that established AIT.

Attending the meeting from AIT Taipei were Director Christensen, Economic Section Chief Jeff Horwitz, Commercial Section Chief Helen Peterson, Agricultural Section Chief Mark Petry, and Economic Officer Phill Loosli. Representing AmCham were President William Foreman, Chairman Leo Seewald, Standing Vice Chairman Chyi-Woei Chin, Vice Chairwoman Petra Jumpers, AmCham Governor Jan-Hendrik Meidinger, AmCham Supervisor Dylan Tyson, Senior Director and Taiwan Business TOPICS Editor-in-chief Don Shapiro, and Senior Director for Government & Public Affairs Amy Chang.

Richard Bush on U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

Richard Bush, one of the leading authorities on U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, spoke on that subject to AmCham Taipei members and guests on October 25, filling the Lincoln Room to capacity. Besides his prepared remarks, which included a salute to AmCham for its contributions to fostering strong U.S.-Taiwan relations, he took questions during a lengthy Q&A period.

A former Chairman and Managing Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (1997-2002), Bush is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. where he holds the Chen-fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. Prior to AIT and Brookings in 2002, he worked on Taiwan and other Asia issues at the House Foreign Affairs Committee (1983-1995) and National Intelligence Council (1995-1997).

Bush is the author of such books as At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942, Untying the Knot: Making Peace in the Taiwan Strait, and Uncharted Strait: The Future of China-Taiwan Relations.

From left to right: Richard C. Bush, Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy of Center for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and AmCham Taipei President William Foreman

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

Interested in attending our events? Join us at other upcoming events, click here.

Note: AmCham events are intended primarily for AmCham members and their guests. Many events are open to members’ guests and other non-members, but the attendance of any non-member must be approved in advance. AmCham reserves the right not to admit a non-member to any event without explanation. 

Forum Highlights Benefits of Private Equity

AmCham Taipei, along with the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council based in the Washington DC area, provided support for a Sept. 14 forum entitled “Private Equity in Taiwan: A Pathway to Growth.” The event was jointly organized by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

In recent years Taiwan has attracted very little private equity (PE) investment, following some high-profile cases in which investment applications by PE firms were either rejected or dragged on until the applicant withdrew. The forum appeared to be a welcome indication that the Taiwan authorities are now actively seeking to woo PE investment.

Speeches by three government speakers – MOEA Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin, National Development Council Deputy Minister Cheng Cheng-Mount, and Financial Supervisory Commission Vice Chairperson Huang Tien-mu – all stressed the value that PE investment could bring to the Taiwan economy, aiding in industrial upgrading, innovation, and expansion of global markets.

Two panel discussions – one of them moderated by AmCham Vice Chairman Leo Seewald, chairman of BlackRock Taiwan – provided an opportunity for prominent financial-services executives from Taiwan and elsewhere in the region to explore the benefits of PE for Taiwan in some detail. One theme was the large number of successful family-owned enterprises in Taiwan in which the founder-chairman is quite elderly but the younger family members lack the ability or interest to take over. Cooperation with PE investors can offer a solution, enabling the family to continue to benefit financially without having to take responsibility for the management.

New AIT Director Meets with Board Members

Brent Christensen, the newly arrived Director of the American Institute in Taipei, met with members of the AmCham Taipei Board on Sept. 5 to discuss the U.S. government’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy as well as current trends and concerns in the technology, biomedicine, infrastructure, and healthcare sectors. Deputy Director Ray Greene and representatives from AIT’s economic, commercial, and agriculture sections also participated. Attending from the AmCham side were Chairman Albert Chang; Vice Chairman Vincent Shih; President Bill Foreman; Governors Anita Chen, Wayne Chin, William Farrell, Revital Shpangental Golan, Ed Shober, and Daniel Tseng; Supervisor Joyce Lee; and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.

AmCham Taipei Honors Departing AIT Director Kin Moy

Chamber members gathered in the ballroom of the Sherwood Taipei on July 3 for a luncheon program bidding farewell to Kin Moy as he prepares to return to Washington at the end of his three-year tour as Director of the American Institute of Taiwan.

AmCham Chairman Albert Chang thanked Moy, the chief American representative in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations, for being “an unceasing friend and supporter of the Chamber.” Chang lauded Moy for his stellar accomplishments during his tenure, including:

  • The completion and inauguration of AIT’s new office complex in Neihu, a tangible symbol of the enduring friendship between the U.S. and Taiwan.
  • Expanded economic ties (major Taiwanese investment projects in the U.S., promoting U.S. exports, and large Taiwan delegations to SelectUSA in Washington).
  • The admission last year of Taiwan travelers to the United States’ Global Entry program (only the third U.S. partner in Asia with this honor).
  • Cooperative and training programs in areas like the digital economy, environmental protection, public health, women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, and humanitarian assistance.

Chang concluded, however, that “what makes Kin Moy so special” is much more than those achievements. Using a number of anecdotes as examples, he cited Moy’s warmth, humor, and accessibility.

AmCham Taipei President William Foreman presents gift to Director Kin Moy of the American Institute of Taiwan.

In his remarks, Moy expressed appreciation to AmCham for its close cooperation with AIT, for providing valuable briefings to visiting dignitaries from the U.S., and for holding impressive events such as the annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet and American Ball. He noted that AmCham provides AIT with many “great ideas” for furthering the bilateral economic relationship – ideas that AIT relays back to Washington.

Moy referred to the recent dedication ceremony for the new AIT office complex as a “historic occasion,” as it confirms that the “U.S. commitment to Taiwan is about the long term.”

On the morning of the AmCham luncheon, Moy was presented with the Order of the Brilliant Star by President Tsai Ing-wen in recognition of his contribution to U.S.-Taiwan relations.

Moy’s successor as AIT director, William Brent Christensen, is expected to arrive later in the summer. He previously served as AIT’s deputy director from 2012 to 2015. His deputy, who has already taken office, is Raymond Greene, who was previously posted in Taipei as deputy chief of the AIT political section from 2001 to 2005.

Director Kin Moy of the American Institute of Taiwan; AmCham Taipei President William Foreman; AmCham Chairman Albert Chang; and AmCham Board members Joyce Lee, Petra Jumpers, Anita Chen, Vincent Shih, William Farrell, Daniel Tseng, and Joanne Tsai.

Join AIT Director Moy for His Final U.S. Citizen Town Hall   

AIT Director Kin Moy would like to invite you to a U.S. citizen town hall on Tuesday, May 15th from 7 – 8 pm at The Taipei American School (TAS).  This will be Director Moy’s final U.S. citizen town hall before completing his tenure as AIT Director.  Director Moy will answer your questions and share his reflections on U.S.-Taiwan relations.  We’ll tell you more about the services we provide for U.S. citizens, and consular officers will be on hand to provide off-site notarial services, accept passport renewal applications, and assist with absentee voting registration after the town hall meeting.*

When: Tuesday, May 15th at 7 pm (please plan to arrive at TAS at 6:30pm as you will have to pass through security before entering the school grounds).  Light refreshments will be served.

Where: The Taipei American School Harmony (Small) Theater (2nd floor– follow the signs from the main entrance)
No. 800, Section 6, Zhongshan N Rd, Shilin District, Taipei
There is no campus parking available, but there are several public lots in the vicinity.  Please consider taking public transportation.

Who:  All U.S. citizen travelers/residents are invited, so tell your friends!
This event will be off the record.  No filming or recording, please.

How: Please RSVP by Wednesday, May 9th to TaipeiACS@state.govA U.S. passport will be required for entry.

*Services the AIT will provide:

  • Notary Services
  • Passport Renewals
  • Absentee Voter Assistance

Note: Payment for Services by Local Bank Draft in USD Only, No Cash Payment will be accepted

The AIT can only provide the services listed above.

For all other services, please come visit us: https://www.ait.org.tw/u-s-citizen-services/scheduling-appointments/

Payment for services must be made by local bank draft (Cashier’s Check) in U.S. Dollars (本地銀行的美金匯票) payable to “American Institute in Taiwan” with no other amendments or notations (such as “Not Negotiable”).  We regret that we will be unable to provide services without payment by local bank draft at the time of the visit.  Please ensure that your bank draft is for the exact cost of your services.  Minor child passport renewals cost $115; adult passport renewals cost $110; first-time or lost adult passport replacements cost $145; all notary services are $50 per notary signature. More details of the fee schedules can be found here.

For passport renewal information and required documents for adults and children under 16 years of age, please refer to AIT’s website.  To renew a child’s passport, the child and both parents must be present.

All applicants must prepare A-4 sized photocopies of all required documents before submitting the passport application.

For passport renewals, the passport will be ready in about three weeks and will be sent to the applicant by courier.  The previous passport will be cancelled and returned to the applicant on-site.

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.

U.S. Citizens Are Invited to the Voting Assistance Workshop on March 9, 2018

Your vote counts! Make sure your voice is heard in the 2018 mid-term elections!

Are you a U.S. Citizen in Taiwan who would like to vote in the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections from Taiwan? The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is hosting a Voting Assistance Workshop on Friday, March 9, 2018 and you are invited!

Participation in the electoral process, regardless of political affiliation, is a right of citizenship that ties us together as Americans. Voting overseas is simpler than you may think. Because each state has different requirements, however, it’s important to understand the process and make sure you are properly registered. This workshop will provide participants with the information, resources, and tools needed to successfully participate in the electoral process from overseas.

The Voting Assistance Workshop is an interactive, hands-on training session led by a Washington-based official of the Federal Voters Assistance Program. Come join AIT officers and community volunteers to learn how to exercise your electoral rights – and gets certified to teach others how to do it too!

When: March 9 (Friday) from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. (Please plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early as you will have to pass through security before entering the venue.)

Where: The American Center

Suite 2101, 21st Floor, International Trade Building

No. 333, Keelung Road, Section 1, Taipei City

* Parking is limited in the neighborhood, so participants may find it more convenient to use public transportation or taxis.

Who: All U.S. citizen resident in Taiwan are invited.

How: Please RSVP by March 1 (Thursday) to TaipeiACS@state.gov. A U.S. passport will be required for entry.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshop on March 9th!

Global Entry Interviews to be conducted in Taiwan from January 18 – 24, 2018

Since the Global Entry program was expanded to Taiwan passport holders on November 1, 2017, demand for this program in Taiwan has skyrocketed.  In response to this high demand, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in conjunction with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), will be conducting a Global Entry enrollment event in Taipei, January 18 – 24, 2018.  Taiwan passports holders and U.S. citizens in Taiwan can take advantage of this event to interview with CBP in Taiwan and conveniently join Global Entry.

EVENT:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection Interviews for Global Entry
DATES
:  January 18 – 24, 2018
LOCATION
:  American Institute in Taiwan – Taipei
No. 7, Ln. 134, Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd., Da’an Dist. Taipei City 10659, Taiwan

Address in Mandarin:
美國在台協會台北辦事處
106 台北市信義路三段134巷7號

Global Entry interviews in Taiwan will be offered to applicants (1) who have been conditionally approved for Global Entry and (2) who have scheduled an interview for the Taiwan location.  Those interested in this program should visit CBP’s Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) website to start the application process and schedule an interview: https://ttp.cbp.dhs.gov.

To be conditionally approved in time to schedule an interview with CBP in Taiwan during the January 18 – 24 interview period, applications for Global Entry must be submitted online no later than January 4, 2018.

On November 1, 2017, Taiwan became the 12th partner worldwide and 3rd in East Asia whose passport holders are eligible to enroll in Global Entry.  Currently available at 54 U.S. airports and 15 Preclearance locations around the world, Global Entry streamlines the international arrivals process at airports for trusted travelers. More than 4.7 million Global Entry members bypass traditional CBP inspection lines and use an automated kiosk to complete their admission to the United States. As an added benefit, Global Entry members are also eligible to participate in the TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening program.

Information for Taiwan passport holders on applying for the Global Entry program and scheduling an interview in Taipei January 18-24 can be found on AIT’s Global Entry webpage: https://www.ait.org.tw/global-entry

Visit CBP’s Global Entry website for complete information on the Global Entry Program.

 

This Press Release is also available on the AIT website at:

https://www.ait.org.tw/category/press-releases/

AIT/W’s Norris Calls on AmCham

During his first visit to Taiwan since taking his current position in September 2016, John J. Norris Jr., Managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Washington office (AIT/W), met with AmCham Taipei governors and senior staff on October 26 at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room for an exchange of views on U.S.-Taiwan economic relations. Norris had previously met with AmCham’s “Doorknock” delegation in Washington in June.

The topics raised by AmCham included:

  • The significance for both the Taiwanese and U.S. economies of the close collaboration between companies in the two countries in the field of semiconductors, and the importance of maintaining the security of advanced technology in that industry.
  • The benefit that Taiwanese investors could receive from pension reform that opens the market to wider choice for individual consumers.
  • The difficulties for both employers and employees caused by the recently implemented Labor Law revisions that impose rigid regulations regarding working hours, overtime pay, and other working conditions.

A career foreign service officer, Norris served in both AIT Taipei and AIT Kaohsiung early in his career. Among his other posts related to Taiwan, he was Director of the Office of Taiwan Coordination (1998-2000) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs (with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia) from 2008 to 2009.