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AmCham Taipei Celebrates 69 Years of Outstanding Service and Leadership

On September 17, AmCham Taipei commemorated its 69th anniversary with an evening celebration at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Over 100 guests, including members new and longstanding, dined on the hotel’s delicious international cuisine, caught up with peers and friends, and raised a toast to the Chamber’s more than six decades of outstanding service to the international business community. The event was sponsored by SGS and the Invest Taipei Office, and drinks were provided by Diageo.

To kick off the evening, AmCham Taipei Chairperson C.W. Chin gave a short speech describing the Chamber’s dedication to further improving the business environment for its members and to strengthening the economic relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. Leo Seewald, president of the Chamber, then announced that AmCham Taipei is in the process of undergoing a name change – to the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan – to better reflect the organization’s scope and responsibility. AmCham’s membership encompasses the whole of Taiwan, Seewald noted, and in terms of its advocacy efforts, it works mostly with the central government on issues of regulatory policy.

Huang Shan-Shan, deputy mayor of Taipei city government, briefly addressed the guests, emphasizing the work of the Invest Taipei Office. ITO is a one-stop platform established by the city’s Department of Economic Development to assist domestic and overseas companies and entrepreneurs by providing them with knowledge and understanding of Taipei’s business environment, as well as of related policies and legislation.

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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.

A Belated but Rousing Hsien Nien Fan

AmCham Taipei’s 2020 Hsieh Nien Fan banquet was held successfully at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on August 25, despite a long postponement from the original March schedule due to the disruptions of COVID-19. Under the circumstances, this year’s celebration was especially meaningful, bringing together nearly 700 AmCham members and guests, including more than 130 government officials.

Attending the banquet for the fourth time – and the first since her inauguration for a second term, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech. AmCham Chairperson CW Chin (see the full text and video here) and American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen made additional remarks.

Chin opened the ceremony by expressing his thanks to the Taiwan government for the support and cooperation given the Chamber in the past year. He especially praised the administration for its excellent performance in handling the coronavirus pandemic.

In her speech, President Tsai stated that the partnership between Taiwan and the U.S. was made even stronger in the face of the combined challenges from the pandemic and security concerns. That cooperation was exemplified by the recent signing of an MoU on health cooperation during the visit of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. Tsai urged that the bilateral relationship be further deepened by entering into negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. She emphasized that the Taiwan government is “committed to securing a robust investment environment to the benefit of us all.”

AIT Director Christensen commended Taiwan’s progress in advancing shared political, economic, and international values of the U.S. and Taiwan during the challenging times of COVID-19. “It has been our pleasure to work closely with Taiwan to share the Taiwan Model with both U.S. institutions and countries around the world,” he said.

Besides the President, high-ranking Taiwanese officials that attended included Secretary General of the Presidential Office David Lee, Secretary-General of the  National Security Council Wellington Koo, Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin, Minister without Portfolio John Deng, Minister of the National Development Council Kung Min-hsin, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, Chairperson of the Financial Supervisory Commission Huang Tien-mu, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang, Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Chairperson of National Communications Council Chen Yaw-shyang, and Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan. This event was also joined by several members of the Legislative Yuan and Taipei City Council.

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 Products, Amgen, Baker McKenzie, Bechtel, Dun & Bradstreet, GE, Merck, Philip Morris Taiwan, and Semi; and General Sponsors Airbnb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, P&G, and the Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.

Remarks by Chairperson CW Chin at the 52nd Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 52nd annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on August 25 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

A transcript of the chairperson’s remarks is as follows (as prepared for delivery):

President Tsai, AIT Director Christensen, Distinguished Guests, and Chamber Members:

Good evening and welcome to the 52nd annual Hsieh Nien Fan of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei!

As you are undoubtedly aware, we are gathering for this event a bit late this year. It was originally scheduled for March as usual…before COVID-19 rudely intervened and disrupted our plans. But as a result of this year’s special circumstances and the change in timing, I believe it’s fair to say that the Hsieh Nien Fan this year has become even more meaningful than ever.

After all, the main purpose of this event is for AmCham and its member companies to express our thanks to our counterparts in the Taiwan government for the support and cooperation they have given the Chamber in the previous year. Normally that cooperation means the access that officials have granted us and the progress that has been made in resolving White Paper issues. This year, those considerations are still relevant – and we wound up with an excellent record in tackling our committees’ White Paper concerns.

But during a period of catastrophic pandemic that has put peoples’ lives and health at risk and wreaked havoc on economies around the world, we have something much more important to express our gratitude to the Taiwan government for. Thank you, President Tsai and members of your administration, for keeping us and our families and our employees safe and healthy over the difficult past half year. The competence and efficiency that Taiwan has demonstrated in combating the coronavirus has won it the respect and admiration of people all over the globe. As integral members of this community, we are proud that Taiwan has been a model of transparency and good governance internationally.

So even more than usual, our gathering tonight for Hsieh Nien Fan is an act of celebration, and we appreciate that so many of our friends in the Taiwan government were able to join us for this happy occasion. In fact, I am told there might be enough cabinet ministers in the room tonight to make a quorum for a cabinet meeting.

Although time constraints prevent me from recognizing each one of our government guests individually, I want them to know how much we value their presence tonight and the good work they are doing all year long. But considering our theme of gratitude for the able handling of the pandemic, I would like to recognize the attendance of one cabinet minister in particular, Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung. He has proved to be not only a highly knowledgeable and capable healthcare professional, but also a skilled communicator who has been a calming influence on the public during a period of challenge. You might say he has been Taiwan’s Dr. Fauci…but with more support from his president.

That brings me to another important aspect of the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet –celebration of the strong relationship between the United States and Taiwan. In the past year, we have heard both U.S. and Taiwan official say that those relations currently are the best they have ever been. There is plenty of evidence to support that statement, including the recent visit of Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, the highest-ranking U.S. official to come to Taiwan in many decades.

In addition, Congress has passed several pieces of legislation in support of Taiwan, some significant arms deals have been concluded, and trade and investment levels in both directions has been strong. In the first half of this year, Taiwan moved up from 10th to 9th place among American trading partners, and during at least one month it was number 8.

Given that warm relationship and large volume of trade, as well as Taiwan’s economic and strategic importance in this part of the world, it makes perfect sense for the two sides to enter into negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. AmCham plans to make that goal one of its priority objectives for the coming year.

Before concluding, I would like to mention that AmCham joined the people of Taiwan in mourning the recent passing of President Lee Teng-hui and honoring his legacy of promoting democratic values in Taiwan. President Lee was the first head of government in Taiwan to give the keynote speech at Hsieh Nien Fan. That was in the year 2000. He established a tradition that has annually been followed by each president since then – tonight by President Tsai Ing-wen as she has done each year of her presidency.

It is now my honor to invite the President to the podium. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming President Tsai Ing-wen….

AmCham Taipei releases 2020 Taiwan White Paper

The 2020 Taiwan White Paper released on June 10 emphasizes the new opportunities for the Taiwan economy as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some 30 reporters from local and international media attended the launch press conference presided over by AmCham Taipei Chairman C.W. Chin and President William Foreman.

2020 Taiwan White Paper News Conference

 

Following the press conference, the Chamber held a luncheon meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Taipei with over 130 members and guests in attendance. Guest speakers included American Institute in Taiwan Director W. Brent Christensen and the newly appointed National Development Council Minister, Kung Ming-hsin, who received the 2020 White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Minister Kung expressed optimism about Taiwan’s economy, citing the trend of Taiwanese businesses returning home, the country’s outstanding efforts in containing COVID-19, and new opportunities generated by U.S.-China trade tensions. Kung listed a few major projects the NDC would focus on in the coming years, including massive digital infrastructure investment and deepening U.S.-Taiwan relations. He also promised to continue working with the American side on breaking through the ongoing gridlock on U.S. imports of pork and beef.

In their briefing on the White Paper contents at both the press conference and membership luncheon, Chin and Foreman stressed the Chamber’s gratitude to Taiwan’s government for making Taiwan one of the safest places in the world during the pandemic.

  • Continuing progress – Of the 82 issues raised by AmCham Taipei’s industry committees this year, 11 – or 13% – were deemed resolved, a tie with the record-breaking 2018 White Papers. The 11 issues included two from the Insurance and Tax committees, and one each from the Cosmetics, Human Resources, Pharmaceutical, Technology, Telecom and Media, and Travel and Tourism sectors. Chin and Foreman emphasized that the consistently high number of resolved issues over the past three years demonstrated the Taiwan government’s willingness to work together with industries to reduce regulatory obstacles.
  • Remaining challenges – While changing world conditions present Taiwan with a golden opportunity to attract new investment, a clear roadmap for renewable energy development is needed to navigate these changes effectively. In addition, the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device sectors urge the National Health Insurance Administration to expand its budget to enable new and innovative treatments to reach the Taiwan market more quickly. AmCham’s Technology and Digital Economy committees emphasized that increased communication between government authorities and industry is needed to open the way for new business ideas based on digital platforms.
  • Ensuring sufficient talent – The 2020 Taiwan White Paper saw the addition of a new section containing suggestions for how to foster and maintain a pool of internationally minded, digitally savvy talent. This section was part of the Talent Circulation Alliance, a joint initiative between the American Institute in Taiwan and Taiwan governmental and non-governmental organizations. A printed supplement fleshing out the suggestions and ideas contained in the Talent Circulation Alliance White Paper was released simultaneously.

In his remarks, Director Christensen reiterated the Talent Circulation Alliance’s role in this year’s White Paper, highlighting the need for Taiwan to do more to attract and retain both local and foreign talent. He also noted that the state of U.S.-Taiwan relations is better than ever, describing the relationship as “real friends, real progress (真朋友; 真進步).”

 

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.

A Fun-filled Evening at the American Ball

The 2019 American Ball – on the theme of Winter Wonderland – confirmed the event’s reputation as one of Taipei’s social highlights. Co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the ball was held December 7 at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, with nearly 300 AmCham members and guests in attendance.

View the full photo gallery here.

Inside the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, attendees were magically transported to a far different climate than subtropical Taipei’s. The wintry theme was reflected in the room decoration, captivating performances by the VMJ dance group, the menu’s Christmas ball dessert, and such concoctions as the “White Christmas Martini” and “Mrs. Claus’ Wildside” available at the cocktail bar.

AmCham President Bill Foreman and emcee ­­­Dannielle Andrews, AIT’s Economic Section Chief, opened the evening with a toast on behalf of the host organizations. Attendees then enjoyed a succulent five-course meal that featured roasted U.S. beef tenderloin, paired with Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from Sergio Valente) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo).

Live music was provided by Sherwyne Pereira and his band MODA, whose pulsating beat kept the dance floor packed until late in the evening. Dancers could take a break by nibbling on such late-night snacks as chocolate-covered bacon, churros, and macaroon sliders. Guests also had the opportunity to get snapshots taken, creating lasting memories at the photo booths.

The event was made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies. These included Grand Prize Sponsor United Airlines; Wine & Liquor Sponsors Diageo and Sergio Valente; Gold Sponsors Amgen, Grand Hyatt Taipei, HSBC, and Taiwan Sotheby’s; Décor Sponsor Versum Materials; and Silver Sponsors Corning, Everrich, and Prospect Hospitality Co. Ltd. (McDonald’s Restaurants).

The party featured raffle drawings with attractive prizes throughout the night. The grand prize, from United Airlines, was two round-trip business-class tickets to any U.S. destination. Other gift sponsors were the Grand Hyatt Taipei, Amba Taipei Songshan, CÉ LA VI Taipei, eslite hotel, Everrich, Grand Mayfull Hotel Taipei, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Howard Plaza Hotel Taipei, Hilton Taipei SinBan, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Procter & Gamble, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, The Landis Taipei, The Place Taipei, Regent Taipei, Sherwood Taipei, Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

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.

President Tsai Addresses AmCham’s 2019 AGM

With President Tsai Ing-wen as the keynote speaker, AmCham Taipei’s 2019 Annual General Meeting was held November 19 in the newly redecorated Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza. The President paid tribute to the Chamber’s “key role in advancing Taiwan-U.S. trade relations, and in bringing new investments to Taiwan.”

Some 230 Chamber members and guests attended the luncheon meeting, where voting was conducted for the 2020 Board of Governors and Supervisors. See the announcement of the results here.

The six Governors elected for two-year terms were:

  • Mark Chen of Abbott Laboratories
  • CW Chin of Applied Materials Taiwan
  • Timothy Shields of Cigna Taiwan
  • Gina Tsai of Airbnb
  • Fupei Wang of Ogilvy Public Relations
  • Angela Yu of Microsoft

They join 2019-2021 Governors Al Chang of Deloitte & Touche, Albert Chang of McKinsey, Seraphim Ma of Baker & McKenzie, Jan-Hendrik Meidinger of the Grand Hyatt Taipei, and Paulus Mok of Citibank.

Newly elected for one-year terms as Supervisors were:

  • Mark Horng of Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Stephen Tan of International Policy Advisory Group
  • Terry Tsao of SEMI Taiwan

In her speech, President Tsai also thanked AmCham for helping to “remove many obstacles for U.S. companies investing and operating in Taiwan.” She said the government listens closely to the suggestions of AmCham members and responds to their concerns, citing the recent implementation of a Patent Linkage System for pharmaceuticals as an example. See her full remarks here.

Tsai stressed her administration’s determination to build a new economic development model for Taiwan, one that will “transform Taiwan into Asia’s high-end manufacturing and R&D center, a regional financial and wealth management center, and a base for high-quality talent.”

The meeting also included a State of the Chamber 2019 report by Leo Seewald, who served as the AmCham Taipei chairman for most of the year. He highlighted the Chamber’s recent achievements, including receiving the 2019 Corporate Community Leadership Award from the Community Services Center for “exceptional leadership, service, and commitment to Taiwan.”

Seewald also presented the first annual Outstanding Committee Co-chair Awards to Joyce Lee of the Public Health Committee and Dylan Tyson of the Insurance Committee.

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.

AmCham Taipei Celebrates 68th Anniversary

Participants in AmCham Taipei’s cocktail reception marking the 68th anniversary of the Chamber’s birth in 1951 enjoyed a spectacular view from The Penthouse on the 16th floor of the eslite Hotel. Nearly 100 attendees gathered to enjoy a delicious selection of canapés, freeflowing wine and Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch, raffle prizes, and stimulating conversation. The event on September 19 was sponsored by American Airlines.

Chamber President Bill Foreman welcomed the members and guests, and a slide show drew attention to the Chamber’s signature events and major activities over recent years. The reception ended with a lucky draw contest with prizes sponsored by the Chamber that included Sparkling Wines and Glenlivet 15 Year Old Scotch Malt Whisky.

AmCham Taipei had five member companies at its founding and has since grown to a membership of more than 500 business organizations.

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.

2019 CEO Mission Holds Successful D.C. Visit

AmCham Taipei’s recent delegation to Washington, D.C. came away encouraged by prospects for improved economic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.

“The US-Taiwan relationship continues to move in a positive direction, and we’re optimistic about the two sides eventually resuming TIFA talks after a nearly three-year hiatus,” said Chamber President William Foreman, referring to the main channel of trade negotiations between the two countries.

“The U.S. government also appears open to considering other ways to strengthen the relationship, such as entering into negotiations on the equivalent of a chapter of a free trade agreement,” Foreman added.

AmCham is therefore urging the Taiwan government to continue to push for U.S. consideration of Taiwan as a suitable candidate for a bilateral trade agreement. Successful TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) consultations could help pave the way for such consideration.

Formerly known as the “Doorknock,” the annual trip was rebranded this year as AmCham Taipei’s “CEO Mission to Washington” to stress the delegation’s strategic and high-level nature. Conducted the week of June 17, the mission was led by Foreman together with Chamber Chairman Leo Seewald.

The group held a total of 35 meetings with executive branch agencies (including the National Security Council, State Department, and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative), members of Congress and their staffs, think tanks, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office, and others concerned with U.S.-Taiwan economic relations.

Delegation with the National Security Council

Delegation with the State Department

Delegation with the U.S. Trade Representative

The heightened frustration in the U.S. over China’s unfair trade practices has led to increased support for bolstering economic ties with Taiwan, the delegation found. At the same time, Taiwan’s restrictions on the importation of certain U.S. beef and pork products remains a serious trade irritant.

Delegation with chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, Ambassador James Moriarty

As always on the annual visit to Washington, AmCham stressed Taiwan’s economic and strategic importance for the U.S. It called attention to Taiwan’s status as America’s 11th largest trading partner, its vibrant democracy and adherence to rule of law, and deep involvement in the supply chains of leading U.S. technology companies.

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