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AmCham President Leo Seewald Announces Results of 2021 Business Climate Survey

AmCham Taiwan President Leo Seewald announced the results of the Chamber’s 2021 Business Climate Survey (BCS) on January 21 at a press conference held on the 11th floor of the W Hotel. Around 15 media organizations were represented at the event. Seewald detailed the survey’s findings, which were illustrated in a 16-page report produced by AmCham. He emphasized that survey-takers were all business leaders in Taiwan, with most holding upper management positions at their companies.

The Chamber was excited to disclose that a record percentage of respondents – close to 86% – expressed confidence about the economic prospects for the coming year, 16 percentage points higher than in the 2020 survey. There was also a record high level of optimism regarding the 3-year economic outlook, although it was a slightly lower 78%. Seewald observed that this could indicate businesses’ concern about the future trajectory of the global economy.

2021 Business Climate Survey: AmCham President Leo Seewald presents results

In regard to Taiwan’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, members nearly unanimously expressed their satisfaction. A high 64% said they were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the economic relief efforts over the past year, a 23 percentage point increase from when that question was posed to members in a COVID-19 flash survey conducted last April.

Overall, Seewald said, the results of the BCS reflect the consensus among member companies that Taiwan is an overwhelmingly positive environment for multinationals. Furthermore, the U.S.-China trade dispute and Taiwan’s excellent handling of COVID-19 have presented it with a golden opportunity, one that it needs to take advantage of, particularly in the areas of bilingualism and attracting and retaining foreign talent. As a representative of the international business community in Taiwan with a stake in its future prosperity, AmCham is more than willing to aid in any way it can.

Fielding questions from reporters, Seewald said that he didn’t expect a drastic change in the U.S.’ policy toward Taiwan now that President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has taken office. In any case, he said, such policy is not just the will of the president, but rather requires consensus from everyone in the government. Fortunately, there has been a growing recognition across the political aisle in Washington that Taiwan is a valuable partner with shared values and a similar global outlook.

A luncheon gathering followed the press conference at the W Hotel’s 8th-floor ballroom. AmCham Chairperson CW Chin presented the BCS results to an audience of 70 members and their guests. National Development Council Deputy Minister Shih Keh-her also provided some brief remarks, thanking Chamber members for their strong show of confidence in the Taiwan economy and highlighting the government’s major initiatives to drive development and improve the island’s business environment.

See the full presentation below or download the complete report, click here.

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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.

Chairman C.W. Chin Announces Results of the 2020 Business Climate Survey

The results of AmCham Taipei’s 2020 Business Climate Survey were presented by Chamber Chairman C.W. Chin at a news conference held in the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on March 4. Over 30 local and international media organizations attended the briefing, which was followed by a special membership luncheon.

Compared with the 2019 survey results, a higher percentage of companies this year expressed optimism regarding Taiwan’s economic performance over the next 12 months, as well as the next three years. Although the COVID-19 outbreak led to a reduced proportion of positive responses in the latter part of the survey period, confidence about future economic growth and business prospects remained high overall.

 

In addition, C.W. Chin emphasized that while respondents in the 2019 BCS were worried about the uncertainty caused by the U.S.-China trade dispute, almost half of companies surveyed this year viewed the tensions as having a positive effect on their business in Taiwan. Only 10.75% responded that the dispute has had a large impact on their business.

Chin said that a few major issues continue to cause concern among the Chamber’s members. Chief among these are Taiwan’s future energy supply, including power supply sufficiency, voltage stability, and the cost of electricity; labor policies on working hours and overtime; and the regulatory environment.

Furthermore, respondents highlighted the importance of bilateral trade and investment agreements between Taiwan and the U.S. to their business, and urged the early resumption of talks to resolve outstanding trade and investment issues between the two sides.

Speaking with reporters after the presentation, C.W. Chin praised Taiwan’s disease prevention efforts in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which may have reassured some survey-takers. He also spoke in positive terms about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s recent emergency interest rate cut, noting that since most of the Chamber’s members are U.S. companies, reducing the cost of capital by lowering interest rates will help them through this crisis.

The 2020 Business Climate Survey was conducted between January and February this year. Top executives of 391 member companies completed the survey, a response rate of 50.3%.

Technical guidance for the survey was provided by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

See the full presentation below or download the complete report, click here.

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.