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AmCham Meets with New AIT Chairman

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During his first visit to Taiwan in his new capacity as the U.S.-based chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Ambassador James Moriarty met over breakfast with representatives of AmCham Taipei and various of the Chamber’s committees and advocacy groups for a briefing on issues of concern to the U.S. business community in Taiwan. In remarks to the group, Moriarty cited the impressive changes in Taiwan since he was based here in the 1990s, especially the maturation of Taiwan’s democracy.

Also attending the meeting were AIT Deputy Director Robert Forden, who discussed the recent TIFA Council bilateral trade meeting in Washington, and representatives from AIT’s Economic and Commercial Sections.

The issues mentioned by the AmCham leaders included:

  • Technology: The importance of effective protection of propietary technology, continuing smooth cross-Strait interaction under ECFA, ensuring cybersecurity, and establishing a sound data management sysem within government.
  • Financial services: Tax reform, pension reform, and arrangements to permit domestic insurance companies to invest in infrastructure development to relieve pressure on the government budget.
  • Infrastructure: Electricity deregulation and changes in government procurement procedures to encourage more foreign investment in construction and engineering services.
  • Defense: Determining how foreign suppliers can support Taiwan’s planned efforts to build up the indigenous defense industry.
  • Retail: Protecting food safety without creating unnecessary regulatory burdens for manufacturers and importers.
  • Investment: Promoting transparency, consistency, and predictability in the investment approval proess.
  • Other: Encouraging more communication between U.S. and Taiwan regulatory bodies.

Ambassador Moriarty was chief of the AIT political section from 1995 to 1998. He later served as U.S. ambassador in Bangladesh and Nepal before retiring from the foreign service in 2011. As AIT chairman, he succeeds Raymond F. Burghardt, who held the position from 2006 until his recent retirement.

Taiwan to Join U.S. Global Entry Program

Taiwan enters Us Global Entry Program (Photo:Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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