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AmCham Hosts Webinar with Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun

As Taiwan appears to be nearing the end of a community outbreak of COVID-19 that began in May, many business owners must now make the tough decision of whether to call employees back to the office or continue their hybrid or work-from-home policies.

As remote working arrangements could potentially become a permanent option for employment even after the pandemic is over, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun on July 27 joined an AmCham webinar to speak about labor conditions and regulations regarding this new trend.

During her presentation, Minister Hsu provided guidelines for employers to follow, which include:

  • Safety, health, and protection in a working environment: The Ministry of Labor emphasizes labor inspections, especially of food delivery platforms, retailers, and other businesses with a high risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • Flexible working hours: Employers should communicate clearly with their employees any adjustments to work start and end times. Besides flexible working hours, vaccination and caretaking leave should also be provided.
  • Remote working: The government issued principles for work conducted outside of the normal workplace in 2015. These include replacing physical time clocks with online clock-in systems for digital records.

Hsu also urged member companies to pay attention to employees’ mental health and work-life balance since remote working decreases personal interaction.

AmCham Hosts Webinar with NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin

On July 16, AmCham held a webinar with National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-Hsin, who spoke to members about the government’s most recent COVID-19 relief program.

Daniel Tseng, Secretary of AmCham’s Board of Governors and President of Corning Display Technologies Taiwan, moderated the event. He introduced Minister Kung and thanked the NDC for its collaboration with AmCham Taiwan and support for the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper.

Kung began his presentation by summarizing the current COVID-19 situation in Taiwan. In May, an outbreak of local infections resulted in a peak of between 500 and 600 new cases daily, Kung said, adding that Taiwan quickly contained the spread by introducing Level 3 restrictions. While Taiwan continues to record double-digit local COVID-19 cases each day, vaccines are becoming more available and Taiwan’s vaccination rate is increasing.

In contrast with last year’s initial outbreak, the economic effects of this new phase are concentrated on local businesses. Under the Level 3 restrictions, leisure, exhibition, and education-related activities have all been suspended. Other industries, such as food and beverage, tourism, and transportation also face heavy restrictions.

In terms of economic relief for businesses, Kung noted that Taiwan allocated comparatively few funds during the initial phases of the pandemic because Taiwan’s early response, largely informed by their experience with SARS, was highly effective. Given this, special reserves were available to implement broader relief measures.

The government’s approach to relief-funding is to concentrate financial aid on industries experiencing the most stress. Instead of providing blanket cash subsidies, the government has reserved financial resources for impacted industries and individuals, including unemployed workers and the service and tourism industries. Foreigners and part-time and contract workers are also eligible for aid. Additionally, the government introduced a NT$10,000-per-child family assistance program and helped certain households with expenses related to rent and utilities.

Concluding the presentation, Minister Kung noted the goal of the government’s COVID policies is to prioritize prevention, relief, and revitalization.

During the Q&A session held afterwards, a concern was raised about the difficulty some foreigners experienced with registering for vaccination appointments through the online platform. Registration on the platform is based on the number on an individual’s National Health Insurance (NHI) card, which not all foreigners possess. Kung responded that he would raise the issue with the relevant agency in order to determine an alternative method for foreigners without an NHI card to register.

Responding to a question about relief for foreign businesses, Kung noted that small and medium-sized companies qualify for financial assistance, regardless of the owner’s nationality. Business owners and individuals can dial the 1988 economic relief and stimulus hotline for assistance. Kung also hosts a weekly office hour to assist companies with applying for pandemic relief.

Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan and Colleagues Address AmCham Webinar

On June 28, AmCham Taiwan hosted a webinar with the Taoyuan City Government to provide information on government response to COVID-19 and relief efforts for businesses. The webinar – titled “COVID-19 Measures and Prospect of Taoyuan City” – featured a presentation and Q&A with Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. He was joined by directors and staff from Taoyuan’s Secretariat, as well as its IT, Public Health, and Economic Development sections. AmCham Taiwan President Andrew Wylegela moderated the event.

In his opening remarks, Mayor Cheng emphasized Taoyuan’s importance as a travel and technology hub. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on lives and businesses, Taoyuan has used multiple lines of defense to safeguard its population, including expanded COVID-19 testing, disinfection, and vaccination, while providing financial and logistical support to businesses.

Regarding vaccination, Taoyuan City Government noted that medical personnel, epidemic prevention workers in the central and local governments, frontline workers, and pregnant women currently can make appointments to be vaccinated. Additionally, foreign nationals with an ARC in designated priority groups are eligible for government-funded vaccines.

Photo Credit: Taoyuan City Government

Taoyuan’s daily vaccination capacity is dependent on their allocation by the central government. The city can now administer more than 10,000 doses daily, Taoyuan City Government said.

Speaking about relief loans, Cheng and colleagues informed AmCham members that Taoyuan offers services connecting businesses with loans and subsidies. More information can be found on the Taoyuan Department of Economic Development’s webpage.

Answering a question about migrant worker rights during the live Q&A session, Cheng emphasized that the Taoyuan government requires that companies treat migrant workers equally or face being penalized. The government said that it encourages migrant workers to stay in their dorms during the outbreak and provides them with entertainment and an allowance, but that they cannot be banned from going out. Taoyuan houses nearly 120,000 migrant workers, more than any other city in Taiwan.

To close the event, Andrew Wylegala thanked Mayor Cheng for answering member’s questions and for “sharing his vision for how Taiwan not only copes with but emerges stronger from the other side of this pandemic … we will do our best to channel all of this information to AmCham’s members using our website and other channels.”

AmCham Hosts COVID-19 Webinar with Taipei City Government

The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has had a major impact on the business community in Taipei. To provide members with the latest information regarding safety and relief measures for companies operating in Taipei, AmCham hosted a webinar on June 18 with Taipei City Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun and Commissioner for External Affairs Ambassador Tom T.C. Chou. Joining them were Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs Adam Yi and Taipei City Hospital Deputy Chief Superintendent Hsu Chia-Chen. The event was moderated by Microsoft Taiwan’s General Manager of Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Vincent Shih.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Mayor Tsai noted that the recent outbreak brought many challenges to Taipei and impacted the economy, particularly the hotel and service industries. By balancing pandemic prevention and economic assistance, Taipei City Government has largely mitigated relevant risks. Tsai stressed the importance of contact tracing and expressed optimism regarding Taiwan’s ability to keep infection rates low until a majority of the population has been vaccinated. He also extended his gratitude to the U.S. government for their donation of vaccines to Taiwan.

During the Q&A session, Yi informed members that the Taipei City government has offered relief measures for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as support for revitalization and adaptation to “the new normal.” Furthermore, foreigners who have lived in Taipei for at least one year can apply for government subsidies. Yi also noted that loans for SMEs, which are distributed from the National Development Fund and the Small & Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund (SMEG), are available to both local and foreign firms.

Regarding vaccinations, Tsai said that Taiwan was expecting good news regarding international deliveries and referred attendees to the list of vaccination priority groups to determine whether they are eligible for their shot. The government is currently designing an English-language version of Taipei’s vaccine registration system to accommodate the approximately 70,000 foreigners living in Taipei.

Answering a question about school policies during the pandemic, Ambassador Chou stressed the volatility of the current situation but noted that Taipei schools will reopen in September, either in-person or online, regardless of the pandemic situation. Currently, 170,000 students in Taipei are taking online classes, and the government supports underprivileged students by providing them with laptops, tablets, sim cards, and routers on an as-needed basis.

Closing the event, AmCham Taiwan President Andrew Wylegala thanked Taipei City Government for answering the members’ questions and stressed the importance of continued dialogue between government and industry, particularly during the pandemic.

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.

COVID-19 Prevention for Foreign Offices and Foreign Businesses

AmCham had the pleasure to attend a virtual conference entitled, “COVID-19 Prevention Virtual Conference for Foreign Offices and Foreign Businesses” hosted by the Taipei City Government. Speakers from the Taipei City Government included External Affairs Commissioner Tom Chou, Department of Finance Deputy Commissioner Hu Hsiao-lan, and Department of Economic Development Deputy Commissioner. The program highlighted Taipei City’s epidemic prevention and relief measures, as well as provided useful resources for foreign businesses in Taipei.

See the full presentation below:

AmCham Hosts COVID-19 Webinar with InvesTaiwan CEO Emile Chang

The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has caused much apprehension among Taiwan’s local and international business communities. To address some of their concerns, AmCham hosted a webinar on June 7 with InvesTaiwan CEO Emile Chang, who spoke to Chamber members about the pandemic’s impact on foreign businesses and investment in Taiwan. The event was moderated by Facebook Taiwan Public Policy Manager Max Chen.

In his opening remarks, Chang noted that when the recent outbreak occurred in Taiwan, a new work model began to develop based on the experiences of other countries hit harder by the pandemic last year. This model involved remote business meetings, as well as increased logistics and food delivery services, and the continuity of operations of supply chains.

The shift to work-from-home and rotating A and B work teams has progressed relatively smoothly, and the InvesTaiwan office’s operations have largely been unaffected in terms of productivity, Chang said. He highlighted that InvesTaiwan continues to provide a single service window for foreign business entities.

During the Q&A session, Chang said that if Level 4 restrictions were implemented in Taiwan, all government entities would maintain operations, with 70% of staff working from home and the remaining 30% going into the office. He stressed that InvesTaiwan is streamlining its workflows during the current Level 3 restrictions.

Chang also noted that operations of manufacturers in Taiwan’s science parks are of high priority for the government and that those operating outside the parks should plan according to their needs and submit their proposed plans to the government.

When asked how Taiwan can continue attracting foreign capital under the current circumstances, Chang said that InvesTaiwan is optimistic regarding Taiwan’s capacity to quickly bring the virus under control and continue its quest for more vaccines.

InvesTaiwan and other government entities are prepared to assist foreign businesses with difficulties arising from the outbreak, Chang said. Priority will be given to enabling the entrance of foreign talent as soon as the situation improves. In response to questions on how SMEs owned by foreign nationals can apply for COVID-19 relief loans, Chang said InvesTaiwan will reach out to the Commerce Department and Industrial Development Bureau for further information.

In response to a member’s question, Chang said that individuals who do not display active symptoms should avoid rapid-testing centers due to the risk of contagion at such sites. However, companies may apply for need-based large-scale rapid screenings.

Chang also noted that the Ministry of Health and Welfare arranges vaccinations, and the central government coordinates distribution in order of priority. Companies are advised to monitor the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website and press releases and, if possible, maintain communication with the CDC.

In his closing remarks, Chang extended his compliments and gratitude to AmCham members and other foreign enterprises for their cooperation in the government’s efforts to control the virus and return to normalcy. He concluded that InvesTaiwan would continue providing work opportunities and lifetime business services.

Latest information about vaccine policy in Taiwan

Over the weekend, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that businesses that wish to import COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan must first entrust an authorized pharmaceutical company to apply for approval from Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA).

The point of contact for companies that are ready to file a COVID-19 vaccine import application is the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB): 0800-000-257. Please only contact the IDB once you have confirmed a source for the vaccines and are ready to seek assistance with the application process. For general information, please refer to the CECC website.

*Companies may indicate in their proposal whether a certain number or percentage of the vaccines should be reserved for the company’s staff and their family. The TFDA will take into account such information when reviewing the application.

**Please note that this translation is prepared by AmCham, not the Taiwan government.

Other useful information: