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2019 Hsieh Nien Fan: A Night for Commemoration

AmCham Taipei’s 2019 Hsieh Nien Fan banquet, held April 10 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, paid tribute to the Taiwan Relations Act on its 40th anniversary. The law, which has enabled U.S.-Taiwan relations to continue smoothly without formal diplomatic recognition, was signed by U.S. President Jimmy Carter on exactly the same date in 1979.

The banquet has been held annually since 1970 as a way to express AmCham’s thanks to the Taiwan government for its cooperation in the past year. This year’s event was attended by 682 AmCham members and guests, including 143 government officials.

The keynote speakers were President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Meale, with additional remarks by AmCham Chairman Leo Seewald (see the full remarks here) and American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen. Video messages on congratulations were shown from four U.S. Senators: Corey Gardner (R-CO), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Besides the President, the high-ranking Taiwanese officials in attendance included Secretary General of the National Security Council David Lee, Minister without Portfolio John Deng, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Minister of the National Development Council Chen Mei-ling, Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission Wellington Koo, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee, Minister of Justice Shawn Tsai, and several members of the Legislative Yuan.

The New York Times reported on President Tsai’s comments in her speech that Taiwan needs to continue diversifying Taiwan’s economy to prevent over-reliance on China. “We must make sure Taiwan’s economic and security position remains on the right track,” it quoted her as saying.

The President’s speech also stressed the importance of the government’s relationship with AmCham Taipei. “We will continue to work hand-in-hand to find ways to bring more jobs and investment to Taiwan,” she said.

Meale’s remarks cited the remarkably strong commercial relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan. “It is in the interest of the United States to have such an important trade and investment partner that is notable both as a democracy and as a well-run economy,” he told the audience.

In his comments, Christensen noted that Taiwan is the eleventh largest trading partner of the United states, and also “one of the key players in the high-tech global supply chain.”

2019 Hsieh Nien Fan – Toast

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Peter Dernbach.

A host of generous sponsors helped make the event possible: Platinum Sponsor Citi; Gold Sponsors Corning, Franklin Templeton Investments, and Standard Chartered Bank; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Silver Sponsors 3M, HSBC, JTI, and Micron; Bronze Sponsors Air Canada, Air Products, Bechtel, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, Philip Morris International, Semi, and Versum Materials; and General Sponsors Invisalign, Amgen, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, and the Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.

AmCham Taipei Banquet Provides Forum for State Dept. Official’s Remarks

Speaking at AmCham Taipei’s 50th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet at the Grand Hyatt on March 21, Alex Wong, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, staunchly reaffirmed American government support for Taiwan.

Stating that “the United States has been, is, and always will be Taiwan’s closest friend and partner,” Wong said “the aim of U.S. policy is to ensure that Taiwan’s people can continue along their chosen path, free from coercion.” He told the audience of 700 AmCham members and guests, including President Tsai Ing-wen and more than 100 other Taiwan government officials, that American commitment to the goals of strengthening ties with the Taiwan people and bolstering Taiwan’s ability to defend its democracy “has never been stronger.”

The State Department official also referred to Taiwan’s constitutional democracy as an example for the entire Indo-Pacific region, adding that Taiwan should no longer be “excluded unjustly” from international forums.

“The U.S. commitment to Taiwan doesn’t change from administration to administration or from president to president,” Wong said. “It doesn’t change with the rise or fall of the fortunes of other powers in the region. It doesn’t change with the emergence of new challenges or new threats.”

Wong’s remarks were widely covered by the Taiwanese and international media, including The New York Times.  The full text is posted on the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) website.

In introducing the Deputy Assistant Secretary, AIT Director Kin Moy cited several positive recent developments in Taiwan on issues that AmCham Taipei had advocated – Taiwan’s enhancement of transparency by adopting a 60-day notice and comment period for new laws and regulations, and its bolstering of intellectual property rights by preparing to establish a patent linkage system for pharmaceuticals.

Earlier in the evening, President Tsai continued the tradition of the Taiwan president addressing the Chamber’s annual signature event. She hailed the “positive direction Taiwan-U.S. relations have taken over the past few years,” including President Trump’s signing of the Taiwan Travel Act into law, encouraging more visits back and forth by government officials.

She also praised AmCham Taipei’s work in advancing bilateral relations and improving the investment environment in Taiwan through its Doorknock delegations to Washington, publication of the Taiwan White Paper  and Taiwan Business TOPICS magazine, and conducting its annual Business Climate Surveys.

The evening’s program began with remarks from 2018 AmCham Chairman Albert Chang, a former classmate of Alex Wong’s at Harvard Law School. Chang, the managing partner in Taiwan for McKinsey & Co., noted that favorable results of AmCham Taipei’s recent Business Climate Survey and praised the accomplishments of Taiwan’s past 50 years of economic development. But he also cited the survey’s findings that “60% of our member companies believe we need more policymaker engagement with the private sector in setting regulations” and that “90% believe that in an innovation-based economy, professional and managerial talent should be exempted from the labor law” provisions on working hours.

View the full photo gallery here.

High-level dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Policy Advisor to the President of the President’s Office Mei-Yueh Ho
  • Secretary General of Legislative Yuan Jih-Jia Lin
  • Minister of National Development Council Mei-Ling Chen
  • Secretary-General of National Security Council David Tawei Lee
  • Chairman of Financial Supervisory Commission Wellington L. Koo
  • Minister of Ministry of Transportation and Communications Tan Ho-Chen
  • Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology Liang-Gee Chen
  • Minister of Ministry of Health and Welfare Shih-Chung Chen
  • Minister of Environmental Protection Administration Ying-Yuan Lee
  • Chairperson of National Communications Commission Nicole,T.I. Chan

The evening was made possible by the following sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
  • Gold Sponsors: Corning Display Technologies; Franklin Templeton Securities; Standard Chartered Bank
  • Silver Sponsors: 3M Taiwan, HSBC Bank, JT Tobacco International, and Micron Tech Asia Pacific Taiwan
  • Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, AllianceBernstein Investments, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, Versum Materials
  • General Sponsors: Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey & Company, P & G, SEMI Taiwan, The Tobacco Institute of the ROC
  • Wine & Liquor: Sergio Valente and Diageo

Remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang at the AmCham Taipei Banquet, Hsien Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 49th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 22nd in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, who expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan. He stressed the findings of AmCham Taipei’s recent 2017 Business Climate Survey that an already excellent business environment – especially with regard to quality of life and human capital – could easily be further improved through greater regulatory transparency and consistency.

A transcript of the chairman’s remarks is as follows:

Welcome, Good evening! President Tsai, Ministers, AIT Director Moy, AmCham Members, and Distinguished Guests. Let me say a warm welcome to AmCham Taipei’s annual Hsieh Nien Fan!

This is a historic evening. Every year, for the past 49 years, AmCham has gathered together the top leaders from government and international business. And tonight, we have set a new record of nearly 700 people here. To Director Moy and our fellow AIT leaders, we are so happy to have you with us tonight. This is a historic night, because tonight we welcome someone who herself has made history. Madam President, let me say, on behalf of AmCham Taipei, we are so honored to have you with us this evening. And so to you, your Ministers, and the 100-plus government officials here tonight, we offer a warm welcome and a heartfelt thank you.

As we gather here tonight, we have so much to celebrate.

The leaders in this room have personally overseen the creation of thousands-upon-thousands of high-quality high-paying jobs and billions of dollars of investment in Taiwan. Let’s not forget these are not numbers on a piece of paper. The companies in this room have done their part to improve the lives of the average Taiwanese citizen in very real ways.

When we asked our members in our most recent Business Climate Survey about their hiring and investment plans, they told us that they are doubling down here. Half of the companies in our Survey responded that they grew their headcount and investment in Taiwan in 2016. Half of the companies responded that Taiwan is a top 10 global priority for their company.

On quality of life, an overwhelming majority expressed enthusiasm for the quality of Taiwan’s workforce and the outstanding living environment. Some even joked that Taiwan is the only place in the world where the taxi drivers are nicer than the passengers! Even for me personally, when people tell me my Chinese has improved, I tell them I learn everything I know from our taxi drivers! But then when they say my accent is so bad, I guess I know who’s to blame.

On regulations, under Premier Lin Chuan’s leadership, the notice and comment period for new regulations has been extended from 14 days to 60 days, facilitating stronger input on proposed regulatory changes.

We thank President Tsai and the Taiwan government for creating an environment that welcomes the world’s leading companies to plant their flag in Taiwan and encourages them to invest, innovate, and grow here.

But, at the same time, we are not naïve, we all know that there is still much more work to do to unlock the next wave of growth in jobs and investment. If there is one message from our members on the state of the business environment in Taiwan, it is that we need to accelerate the pace of improvement.

And we need to do it in 3 key areas:

  • Number 1: Government regulations – Regulations are the essential glue to a well-functioning, modern economy like Taiwan. But this is one area our members said Taiwan needs to step up. We’re looking for more transparency around the regulatory process; and we need more time and more opportunities to provide meaningful input into the process by which new laws are formulated and approved. This is the single biggest issue for international businesses here year after year.
  • Number 2: Labor law –In today’s digital economy, where whole industries are being disrupted by fast-moving innovators, labor laws need to keep up. Labor laws in Taiwan need to become more relevant, they need to become more actionable, and they need to become more relevant to the day-to-day needs of companies trying to invest, innovate, and grow.
  • And Number 3: Our members are looking for Taiwan to be a source of macro-economic stability in a world that is becoming more uncertain and more fraught with risks than ever before. Stability instills confidence throughout the entire system, and lets business leaders feel assured that their investments will be secure today, and in the future.

To my esteemed colleagues and friends in the room here, I would say this: you’ve all done so much to get Taiwan to the enviable position that it is in today: a thriving, vibrant democracy; a nation of smart, friendly, and hard-working people; and one of the largest trading nations on earth.

At AmCham, we are more optimistic than ever. We have here tonight the public and private sector leaders who will shape the economic future of Taiwan. And while we may not all share the same goals or agendas, what we do share, what does bind us together, is a deep commitment to continued economic growth and prosperity in Taiwan.

Personally, coming back to Taiwan several years ago was a deeply meaningful homecoming for me. I am personally committed to work with the esteemed leaders present in the room here tonight, to ensure that this home that we call Taiwan is a place where we can raise our families, build our businesses, and pursue our dreams in peace and prosperity.

Before I hand over the podium, I’d like to share with you an often-cited African proverb, my favorite proverb in fact, which states, “If you want to go fast, go alone…but if you want to go far, go together.” Tonight, we gather in recognition of the fact that, although there is so much work to do, there is no limit to what we can accomplish, if we do it together.

To President Tsai and Director Moy, we extend our warmest welcome and deepest thanks, and we look forward to years of continued partnership together.  Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming, Mr. Kin Moy, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan.

President Tsai Addresses AmCham Taipei Banquet, Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 49th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 22nd in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei. This year’s attendance was a record high of nearly 700 AmCham Taipei members and guests.

The purpose of the event is to express thanks to Taiwan government officials, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other friends of the Chamber for their cooperation and support in the previous year.

Attending for the first time since taking office last May, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, becoming the fourth president of the Republic of China to do so.  She commended AmCham Taipei, noting that “for 66 years this chamber has served as a vital bridge between Taiwan, the United States, and the business communities of our two countries.” Citing AmCham Taipei’s annual Doorknock delegation to Washington D.C., Tsai said that “without these efforts, the Taiwan-U.S. partnership would not be in the robust health it is in today.”

President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, becoming the fourth president of the Republic of China to do so.

The president said that with a new administration now in office in the United States, “we have entered a new stage of Taiwan-U.S. relations.” She outlined her government’s plans to strengthen that relationship in three areas:

  1. Strategic. Taiwan is supporting peace-keeping efforts in Iraq and Syria by assisting with international mine-removal efforts; in January it also donated a mobile hospital for use in Iraq. In addition, Taiwan will make greater investment in its own defense, to the benefit of peace and stability in the region, and will seek more cooperation with American defense firms as it builds up an indigenous defense industry and procures more military systems from the United States. This initiative, together with programs in aerospace and cybersecurity, will help create thousands of jobs in Taiwan and the U.S., Tsai said.
  2. Trade. The United States is already Taiwan’s second largest trading partner, with trade in goods and services reaching US$85 billion last year. Faced with the Trump administration’s America First policy, however, “Taiwan is prepared to make adjustments” – emphasizing not only free trade but fair trade, the president said. Referring to her background as a trade negotiator, she said “I firmly believe that through communication and negotiation, trade conflicts and other differences can always be resolved.” She stated her hope that Taiwan and the U.S. can “work together toward a new bilateral trade agreement – preferably, of course, FTA-type.”
  3. Investment. Taiwan will send its largest ever delegation to attend the SelectUSA investment summit in Washington this June to actively seek opportunities to invest in the United States. At the same time, Taiwan’s 5+2 innovation program will open new opportunities for cooperation and investment in Taiwan by U.S. companies and for the purchase of American goods.

AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, presented President Tsai with the book The Female Lead: Women Who Shape Our World, as a gift to show our gratitude for her participation and support of the event.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, who expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan. He stressed the findings of AmCham Taipei’s recent 2017 Business Climate Survey that an already excellent business environment – especially with regard to quality of life and human capital – could easily be further improved through greater regulatory transparency and consistency.

Director Kin W. Moy of the American Institute in Taiwan also spoke, stressing the opportunities for further U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation through such channels as the ongoing dialogue as part of the TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) platform, bilateral Digital Economy Forums, Global Cooperation and Training Framework, International Environmental Partnership, and APEC.

Besides President Tsai, other high-level Taiwan government dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Joseph Wu
  • Legislative Yuan Secretary General Jih-Jia Lin
  • Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio John Chen-Chung
  • Ministry of Interior Minister Jiunn-rong Yeh 
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister David Tawei Lee
  • Ministry of Science and Technology Minister Liang-Gee Chen
  • Ministry of Health and Welfare Minister Shih-Chung Chen 
  • Environmental Protection Administration Minister Ying-Yuan Lee 
  • National Communications Commission Chairperson Nicole,T.I. Chan

The event would not have been possible without the contribution of the following sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
  • Gold Sponsors: Corning Display; Franklin Templeton Investments; Standard Chartered Bank
  • Silver Sponsors: 3M, HSBC, JTI, and Micron
  • Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, American Express, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, and Siemens
  • General Sponsors: Audi, Ford Lio Ho, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.
  • Wine & Liquor: Diageo Taiwan, Sergio Valente

48th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan Continues Tradition

AmCham Taipei Hsieh Nien Fan

Continuing a long tradition, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 48th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 30 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

The purpose of the event is to express thanks to Taiwan government officials, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), and other friends of the Chamber for their cooperation and support in the previous year. Nearly 700 AmCham members and guests attended.

President Ma Ying-jeou was once again the keynote speaker, and AmCham Taipei presented him with a plaque in gratitude for his participation at 15 Hsieh Nien Fan banquets during his tenure both as President and before that as Mayor of Taipei. Another special guest was Kurt Tong, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, who was introduced by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Kin Moy. The master of ceremonies was attorney Peter Dernbach, a co-chair of AmCham Taipei’s Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee.

Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Vice Chairman Margaret Driscoll, standing in for Chairman Dan Silver, who was overseas and unable to attend the event. Driscoll expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan.

President Ma Ying-jeou speaks at AmCham Taipei's 48th Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

President Ma’ speech outlined his administration’s accomplishments, including the successful promotion of a “free, just, and prosperous Taiwan, a peaceful Taiwan Strait, and a friendly international environment.” He stressed the urgency of Taiwan’s participation in emerging regional trade groups such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as the importance of maintaining a stable and reliable energy supply.

AIT Director Moy praised AmCham Taipei’s “constructive role” in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship and credited President Ma with achieving “something that few thought could be done: simultaneously improving relations with both Washington and Beijing.”

In his remarks, Kurt Tong expressed appreciation for AmCham Taipei’s “constructive, regular outreach to the Taiwan authorities” and for the “efforts of the AmCham Taipei leadership and membership in underscoring how valuable TPP can be to your companies and to the U.S. economic presence in Asia.”

AmCham Taipei Hsieh Nien Fan 2016

High-level dignitaries in attendance this year included:

  • National Security Council Deputy Secretaries-General Andrew Kao and Liu Da-nien
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin
  • Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng
  • Environmental Protection Minister Wei Kuo-yen
  • Minister without Portfolio Chung Char-dir
  • National Development Council Minister Steve Chu-chia Lin

The evening was made possible by the following sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: Citibank
  • Gold Sponsors: Corning Display; Franklin Templeton Investments; Standard Chartered Bank
  • Silver Sponsors: 3M, HSBC, JTI, and Micron
  • Bronze Sponsors: Air Products, American Express, Baker & McKenzie, Dun & Bradstreet, K&L Gates, Philip Morris, Qualcomm, and Siemens
  • General Sponsors: Audi, Ford Lio Ho, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China, and UBS.
  • Wine & Liquor: Fratello F&B Int. Ltd., Diageo Taiwan