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Chairman Leo Seewald Announces Results of the 2019 Business Climate Survey

AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald presented the results of the Chamber’s 2019 Business Climate Survey at a news conference followed by a membership luncheon on January 23. More than 30 Taiwan media organizations came to the briefing, which was held at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room.

The online survey was conducted for AmCham by PwC Taiwan between November and December of 2018, with 179 top executives of AmCham’s member companies responding.

Chamber President William Foreman opened the event by explaining the significance of the Business Climate Survey and why the feedback from members is so important to the Chamber. He stressed that a large number of survey respondents are well-experienced, high-level executives from multinationals that are deeply invested in Taiwan for over twenty years. Taiwan’s economic development will reflect the success of multinationals operating in Taiwan.

The Chairman highlighted that the survey respondents were significantly less confident about Taiwan’s economic outlook compared to the previous year. Factors causing concern for global companies include the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, the U.S. administration’s “American First” trade policy, pressure on Taiwan from China, and cyber-security threats. On a positive note, most companies are bullish about their own profitability and are confident about revenue growth over the next 12 months to 3 years.

Seewald, who is Chairman/Managing Director of BlackRock Investment Management (Taiwan) Limited, noted three key areas that required the government’s attention:

  • Government regulations and rules-making process: further reforms are needed to meet the needs of a knowledge-based economy. Results indicated modest improvement in satisfaction in regards to Taiwan’s regulatory environment when compared to the previous year. Survey-takers would like to see the government communicating more with businesses when new regulations and policies are passed.
  • Energy: sufficiency of future power supplies. Nearly 90% of businesses are worried about the adequacy of future power supplies; 73% concerned about voltage stability; and 70% concerned about electricity cost.
  • Labor policies: more flexibility is needed to meet companies’ needs. For more than half the companies, labor issues will be a major factor in whether they expand operations in Taiwan. Furthermore, about half the respondents said the latest amendments to Taiwan’s Labor Standards Act did not provide sufficient flexibility in the treatment of professional employees.

The presentation was repeated at a luncheon held at the Sherwood Taipei, which was attended by over 50 AmCham members and guests. See the full presentation below or download the complete report, click here.

2019 Business Climate Survey Presentation from AmCham Taipei

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

Chairman Albert Chang on BloombergTV’s Daybreak Asia show

American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei Chairman Albert Chang, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company Taiwan Office, spoke with BloombergTV Daybreak Asia immediately prior to the public release of AmCham’s Business Climate Survey (BCS). The BCS was released at a news conference on March 12 held at AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room.

The chairman spoke on a wide variety of subjects, tying issues raised in the BCS to global trade and U.S. policy, including tax reform and import tariffs. Emphasizing the integral role that Taiwan and multinational firms operating here play in global supply chains, Chang highlighted the importance of clear and consistent U.S. policy and openness to global trade to their operations.

Live interview on BloombergTV’s Daybreak Asia show, courtesy of Bloomberg.

2018 AmCham Taipei Business Climate Survey

Most member companies of the Chamber are optimistic about Taiwan’s economy and their own profitability over the next three years, but business leaders have serious concerns about energy, the labor law and the way regulations are made. Those were the major findings of the 2018 Business Climate Survey, conducted for AmCham by PwC Taiwan. The results were released at a news conference, followed by a membership luncheon, on March 7.

Download the full Business Climate Survey report, click here.

The survey showed that AmCham companies have deep roots in Taiwan, with two-thirds of the respondents working for firms that have been operating here for more than two decades, said Albert Chang, chairman of AmCham.

Live video of the news conference:

Some of the key positive responses from AmCham member companies included:

  • 55% are confident about Taiwan’s economic outlook this year, and 50% are confident about the three-year outlook.
  • 81% expressed optimism about revenue growth this year, and 79% were optimistic about the three-year outlook.
  • Nearly 40% intended to increase their employee headcount this year.

2018 Business Climate Survey – top executives’ views on the growth of the #Taiwan #economy and their own companies.

A majority regard the “5+2 Innovative Industries” and “Forward-looking Infrastructure” plans as likely to benefit Taiwan’s economic development. Nearly half of respondents view the initiatives as “likely to impact” their companies’ decisions on future business expansion in Taiwan.

Some key areas of concern included:

  • Nearly 50% said the labor law isn’t flexible enough.
  • 84% were concerned about the future sufficiency of the power supply.
  • 58% were dissatisfied with the degree of policymakers’ attention to business needs.

2018 Business Climate Survey – an in-depth look at the level of concern for Taiwan’s power supply and energy-related issues.

Respondents were also critical of the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They were concerned Washington’s foreign policy and trade-related initiatives are putting American companies at a competitive disadvantage in the Asia-Pacific.

The results of the online survey, which had a 51.3% response rate, were based on responses from 198 members polled this year between Jan. 10 and Feb. 23.

Download the full Business Climate Survey report, click here.

AmCham Delegation Calls on Premier Lai  

AmCham Taipei representatives led by Chairman Albert Chang met with Premier William Lai on March 1 to brief him on the results of AmCham Taipei’s 2018 Business Climate Survey in advance of the public announcement on March 7. The Premier was accompanied by National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling and other officials from the Executive Yuan.

In addition, the Chamber thanked the government for recent progress in dealing with issues from AmCham’s Taiwan White Paper, particularly the preparation currently underway for implementing a Patent Linkage system for pharmaceuticals.

Chang also expressed AmCham’s desire to work in close partnership with the government in the months ahead to encourage increased foreign investment in Taiwan to help spur economic growth and job creation – for example by holding a series of forums to be attended by high-level executives from the Chamber’s member committees. The Premier replied that the government would strongly welcome that initiative.

The AmCham delegation consisted of:

  • AmCham Taipei Chairman Albert Chang, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company Taiwan
  • William Foreman, AmCham Taipei President.
  • Leo Seewald, AmCham Taipei Vice Chairman, Chairman / Managing Director, BlackRock Investment Management (Taiwan) Limited
  • Vincent Shih, AmCham Taipei Vice Chairman, IP & Licensing & Government Relations Committee Co-Chair, General Manager, Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs of Microsoft Taiwan
  • Fupei Wang, AmCham Taipei Secretary, CSR Committee Co-chairs, Managing Director, Ogilvy Public Relations
  • Don Shapiro, AmCham Taipei Senior Director and Editor-in-Chief, Taiwan Business TOPICS
  • Amy Chang, AmCham Taipei Senior Director of Government and Public Affairs

2017 Business Climate Survey Press Conference

Representatives of some 30 Taiwan media organizations came to AmCham Taipei’s Lincoln Room today for a briefing by Chamber chairman Albert Chang, managing partner in Taiwan for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co., on the results of AmCham’s 2017 Business Climate Survey. The seventh annual survey was conducted between October and December last year, with 173 top executives of AmCham’s member companies responding.

Chang stressed that the survey respondents view Taiwan as a positive business environment. Most companies made money in 2016 and expect good revenue and profits in the year to come, and they are continuing to invest in this market and add more employment.

Albert_Chang_BCS_2017

Albert Chang, Chamber chairman Albert Chang, managing partner in Taiwan for the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co., presents AmCham’s 2017 Business Climate Survey.

“The problem is that the pace of improvement is not fast enough,” said Chang. He noted that three areas in particular stood out as needing government attention:

1) Government regulations and the rules-making process. Needed is more transparency, consistency, and prior consultation with stakeholders. Chang commended the government of Premier Lin Chuan for recently increasing the notice and comment period for new regulations from 14 to 60 days, and urged government agencies to fully utilize this platform by providing meaningful responses to public comments.

2) The new Labor Law provisions. Chang described the new amendments as a “big headache for many companies” both in terms of increased costs and continued lack of clarity about how to be in compliance.

3) Cross-Strait relations. “Investors value certainty and stability,” Chang observed.

Other points covered by the survey include:

  • Trade agreements. Although the Trump administration has withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, new opportunities may arise for strengthening U.S.-Taiwan economic relations through bilateral rather than multilateral channels, possibly including a “free and fair trade agreement” and/or a bilateral investment agreement, said Chang. He said the survey showed strong membership support for bilateral exchanges with the U.S. through the TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) process.
  • Tsai administration’s priority objectives. The respondents reported that the five pillar industries that the new government has targeted for development are relevant to their businesses and offer good opportunities for public/private collaboration. Chang called the setting of the policy directions “a good start,” and urged the government to form task forces in each of the five sectors to reach out to the private sector on means of cooperation.
  • Role of the six major municipalities. For the first time, the survey asked members how their businesses are impacted by municipal governments. The results pointed to significant room for improvement in how local governments facilitate business, treat foreign companies, and align their rules with national-level regulations.
  • Personnel. As in past surveys, respondents highly applauded Taiwanese employees’ work ethic and trustworthiness. The main areas of weakness were innovation and creativity.
  • Life in Taiwan. Once again, respondents were enthusiastic about Taiwan as a safe and friendly place to live, with good-quality medical care. Problem areas cited included pedestrian traffic safety and air quality.

Chang noted that Taiwan has lagged behind most other countries in the region in recent years in attracting Foreign Direct Investment. But he said that if the “cloud” of the several key problem areas could be removed, Taiwan should be able to dramatically enhance its investment attractiveness.

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) 

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.

amcham-taipei-mckinsey-present-business-climate-survey-2017

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)