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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.

AmCham releases the 2019 Taiwan White Paper

AmCham Taipei released its 2019 Taiwan White Paper on May 29 at a news conference attended by more than 40 journalists, who raised questions on such subjects as development of the digital economy, labor policy, energy policy, and the likely impact on Taiwan of the U.S.-China trade war.

AmCham Chairman Leo Seewald briefed the attendees on the highlights of the 2019 Taiwan White Paper:

  • Another year with major progress – Of the 71 issues put forward to the Taiwan government in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper for improvement of the business climate, eight were rated solved – three less than the all-time record of 11 last year. The eight issues included four from the cosmetics industry and one each from the Agro-chemicals, Capital Markets, Human Resources, and the Telecommunications and Media sectors. Another 15 issues were cited as showing good progress.
  • Challenges for Taiwan – Taiwan continues to face political pressure from China, economic fallout from the U.S.-China trade war, and internal challenges such as the rapidly aging population and shortages of land, labor, and other resources.
  • Positive developments – The U.S.-China tariff war also provides opportunities for Taiwan to attract manufacturing investment. The warm relationship with the U.S. offers hope that a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) could be negotiated.
  • The importance of innovation – Taiwan is on the right track in focusing attention on the “5+2 Innovative Industries” to enhance its global competitiveness.
  • The urgent need for focus – As there is no guarantee as to how long the current favorable conditions will last, this is a critical point in time. Taiwan cannot afford to be let the upcoming presidential election campaigns totally distract public attention from the crucial reform agenda.

2019 Taiwan White Paper Presentation from AmCham Taipei

Following the conference, the Chamber held a luncheon meeting in the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Taipei. Over 100 members and guests were at the event, including Minister Chen Mei-ling of the National Development Council (NDC), who accepted the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government. The minister thanked and praised AmCham Taipei for providing suggestions that will “help build a more internationalized business environment in Taiwan.” She said the government worked hard to eliminate the obstacles to investment cited in the White Paper.

Chen also asked AmCham member companies’ help in promoting the government’s three current flagship projects:

  • Regional Revitalization. Encouraging business investment in cities outside of Taipei, especially those in the Southern part of Taiwan, to bring value to unique industries that are suitable for various cities and towns.
  • Bilingual Nation. Promoting English as an official language to enhance Taiwan’s international competitiveness.
  • Smart Government. Improve government systems by integrating innovative smart services so that 98% of all government procedures can be performed online by 2025.

The Chamber thanks the NDC and the 23 government agencies for their continued support in coordinating cross-ministerial meetings to discuss AmCham’s issues and taking the Chamber’s suggestions into consideration. AmCham Taipei looks forward to working more closely with the government to promote economic growth and ensure that Taiwan remains a vigorous part of the international community.

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.

Chairman Leo Seewald delivers remarks commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act at AmCham’s Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 51st annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on April 10th in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

Opening the evening, AmCham Taipei Leo Seewald delivers remarks commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. The act has special significance for the Chamber because the organization played a key role in drafting the legislation exactly 40 years ago.

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

President Tsai, Deputy Assistant Secretary Meale, AIT Director Christensen, Distinguished Guests, and Chamber Members:

Good evening! I’m delighted to welcome all of you to the 51st annual Hsieh Nien Fan of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei!

This year’s Hsieh Nien Fan is particularly significant because, as you have heard in the videos, it also coincides with the signing into law of the Taiwan Relations Act on exactly this date 40 years ago. I understand there is also party commemorating this event in Washington DC in just a few hours, so if any of you are looking for a good after party, you might be able to make it if you catch tonight’s flight out.

In the meantime, for those who do not know, the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) forms the basis of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship and has helped create stability for Taiwan to prosper. It is the legal foundation that has made possible four decades of ever-stronger ties in such areas as trade, investment and an extremely broad range of cultural, educational, and scientific cooperation.

1978 and 1979 was a defining period for the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan as the Chamber stepped up and played a key role assuring continuity by advocating for a stable, secure relationship between the US and Taiwan.  A bit of history… The initial draft TRA legislation was too vague, so the then-AmCham chairman, Robert Parker, made several trips to Washington where he testified before Congressional committees.  He called for a clear statement of American commitment to Taiwan’s stability, as well as assurances that the substance of the bilateral relationship would be maintained despite the change in form.

Among the many scholars and other experts who also testified, Mr. Parker – on behalf of AmCham – was the main voice of the business community, stressing the importance to American businesses of being able to operate in an environment of security and certainty. Thankfully, the final version of the TRA addressed those concerns.

During the same period, the termination of the U.S. diplomatic presence in Taiwan put in jeopardy the legal standing of numerous American community institutions – everything from the Taipei American School, the American Club and youth organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts as well as the English-language radio station (now famously known in Taiwan as ICRT)-

Can you imagine a Taiwan without A-foo’s taxi? And who would still be playing Air Supply? In any case, again AmCham stepped forward, taking the lead in ensuring new arrangements were made to preserve these institutions for future generations.

That period in 1979 was an example of AmCham stepping up to protect its members and the stability of Taiwan and was certainly one of AmCham’s finest hours… but it’s not the only example of the Chamber taking on big issues and playing an important part in Taiwan’s history.

The central theme for AmCham has always been (and will continue to be) the stability and prosperity of Taiwan.  We often make the point that the success of our members is inseparably tied to the success of Taiwan. Most of our members have been operating in Taiwan for more than 20 years- in fact, this year marks the 55th anniversary for Citibank, the 50th for 3M, 35th for HSBC, and 30th for both Microsoft and Cigna, as examples.

It is in this spirit that we cooperate with the Taiwan government to help suggest areas of improvement.  Last June, when we launched the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, we were very pleased to be able to announce that a record number of issues from the previous year’s had been resolved. This year, with a few months still left in the White Paper cycle (and before election fever grips the country) I hope we’ll again have a very productive outcome -but there’s still some work to do!

It is important to note that last year’s white paper success could not be achieved without the strong partnership the Chamber has built up with Taiwan government officials at all levels. Our Hsieh Nien Fan is our chance to say thank you to the many members of the Taiwan government that we’ve worked with over the past year – and to let you know how much we appreciate the excellent cooperation you’ve given us.

We also appreciate and thank the outstanding support we receive from our friends at AIT and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington.  Deputy Assistant Secretary Meale’s presence here tonight is a sign of that support. Thank you DAS Meale for making the trip-

Given our legacy and dedication, AmCham stands ready to offer our support for Taiwan through what now appears to be another period of dramatic change.  Supply chains are shifting, climate-change issues demand attention, and disruptive new technologies – everything from cloud computing, 3D printing to the digital economy– are rapidly transforming the way business is done. The companies AmCham represents are world leaders in driving innovation and as Taiwan confronts the challenges of this new technology-driven economy, the Taiwan government should know that it has a steadfast friend and supporter in the American Chamber of Commerce.

Finally, and most importantly, as the AmCham business climate survey points out, our members believe Taiwan has a bright future and we are all on the same side to make that happen!

With that thought, I would like to thank President Tsai, for joining us once again as our keynote speaker.  It is always a pleasure to have you with us and we appreciate the determination that you, Premier Su, and the other members of the Administration have shown in ensuring that Taiwan remains a vigorous part of the global economic community.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming her Excellency, President Tsai Ing-wen to the podium….

AmCham Holiday Dinner Features a Visit from Santa

Santa Claus took time off from Christmas preparations at his North Pole workshop to drop in – to the delight of the many children attending – on AmCham Taipei’s Holiday Dinner on December 14 at the Sherwood Taipei.

The event, the first of its kind for the Chamber, was a resounding success, with more than 70 members and guests attending.

View the full photo gallery here.

The buffet dinner featured carved roast turkey and other dishes from the Sherwood kitchen, including an assortment of child-friendly choices. Besides meeting Santa to tell him their Christmas wishes, the kids also flocked to the gingerbread cookie station, where they could make their own decorations on the cookies with icing.

Everyone received a gift bag of Aunt Stella cookies and complementary passes to the Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas Exhibition in January.

AmCham expresses its thanks to Corporate Sponsors Corning Display Technologies, SEMI Taiwan, and Versum Materials, as well as Raffle Prize Sponsors Aunt Stella, Hilton Taipei Sinban, and The Sherwood 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. 

New Board Members Elected at 2018 AGM

Five candidates were elected to a two-year term on the Board of Governors, and three to a one-year term as Supervisors, at the AmCham Taipei’s 2018 Annual General Meeting at the Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza hotel on November 20. About 170 AmCham members and guests attended the luncheon meeting.

The newly elected Governors to serve in 2019-2020 are:

  • Al Chang of Deloitte & Touche
  • Albert Chang of McKinsey & Co.
  • Seraphim Ma of Baker & McKenzie
  • Jan-Hendrik Meidinger of the Grand Hyatt Taipei
  • Paulus Mok of Citibank Taiwan

The 2019 Supervisors will be:

  • Vincent Shih of Microsoft Taiwan
  • Terry Tsao of SEMI Taiwan
  • Dylan Tyson of Prudential Life Insurance

The in-line candidates for Governor are Leo Seewald of BlackRock Investment, Petra Jumpers of Eli Lilley & Co., and Joyce Lee of Amgen Taiwan, while Carl Wegner of R3 is the alternate candidate for Supervisor.

At the start of the meeting, AmCham Chairman Albert Chang outlined some of the Chamber’s outstanding achievements during the past year. These included record levels of success in resolving White Paper issues, a revamped Business Climate Survey, and the speech by Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Alex Wong at the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet, generating extensive domestic and international media coverage.

The guest speaker at the luncheon, Director Brent Christensen of the American Institute in Taiwan, called attention to the numerous areas of close cooperation between the United States and Taiwan, including:

  • The Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a partnership to demonstrate and share Taiwan’s strengths and expertise with other countries, which has held numerous exchanges and workshops on a wide variety of subjects.
  • The U.S. granting of visa waiver to Taiwan, plus its own Global Entry program, which has enabled the volume of two-way travel to surpass one million people a year.
  • The growing interest by Taiwanese companies in investing in the United States, as shown by Taiwan having the largest single delegation at the SelectUSA summit this year.
  • The U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is opening increased opportunities for cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, energy, and the digital economy, in sync with the Taiwan government’s New Southbound Policy and 5+2 Innovative Industry program.

Christensen also referred to Vice President Mike Pence’s October 4 speech on U.S. China policy which praised Taiwan as a model for democratic development for the Chinese people. The AIT Director cited three areas where Taiwan is well-positioned to demonstrate a leadership role as a responsible member of the international community:

  • Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection. Taiwan has made great improvements in this area, and IPR cooperation has now become a hallmark of the bilateral relationship, he said.
  • Regulatory transparency. Whereas Taiwan had a relatively opaque rules-making regime just a few years ago, it has since become a model by adopting a 60-day notice and comment period, enabling stakeholders to participate in the process.
  • Science-based regulation. It should be standard practice to base regulatory decisions on scientific evidence.

View the full photo gallery here.

Bringing Hawaii to Taipei: The 2018 American Ball

“Aloha Hawaii” was the theme of the dazzling 2018 American Ball, co-organized by AmCham Taipei and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). On the evening of November 3, AmCham members and their guests entered the beautifully decorated (thanks to the Feng Ze Design Center) Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei and immediately imagined themselves transported to America’s favorite vacation spot.

After a cocktail reception featuring a welcome drink of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Woodbridge Sparkling Brut courtesy of Sergio Valente, Master of Ceremonies Ed Shober opened the festivities. AmCham Chairman Albert Chang and President Bill Foreman, accompanied by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Deputy Director Ray Greene, then greeted the attendees on behalf of the host organizations.

View the full photo gallery here.

Showing its usual creativity, the Grand Hyatt served a gourmet five-course meal that featured a cucumber red quinoa salad with Ahi poke and young corn, pumpkin chowder, cucumber granite passionfruit jelly, roasted U.S. beef tenderloin, and dessert of a chocolate sphere with coconut cream and fresh pineapple. The dinner was accompanied by Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay (from Sergio Valente) and Johnnie Walker Double Black (from Diageo). “Blue Hawaii” and other cocktails were available at the bar.

Before and during dinner, the ball-goers enjoyed spirited Hawaii-inspired entertainment routines devised by the VMJ dance group. Once the music started – provided by talented Sherwyne Pereira and his band, as well as DJ Rick Kraft – the dance floor was packed for the rest of the evening with gyrating, enthusiastic revelers.

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, Taiwan Sotheby’s, and Versum Materials; Décor Sponsor Standard Chartered Bank; Silver Sponsors BlackRock, Corning, Invisalign, and Prospect Hospitality Co. Ltd. (McDonald’s Restaurants); and General Sponsor The Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China (TIROC), with a special thanks to the Primasia Conference & Business Center (PCBC).

Attractive raffle prizes added to the excitement of the evening. The grand prize, by United Airlines, was two round-trip business-class tickets to any destination in the United States. The second prize was four nights’ stay for two at either the Club Med Kani (Maldives) or Club Med Sahoro (Japan). Other gift sponsors were the Grand Hyatt Taipei, eslite hotel, Ever Rich D.F.S. Corp., Hawaii Island Real Estate/Clark Realty Hilo, Hotel Eclat Taipei, Howard Plaza, Landis Taipei, Mandarin Oriental Taipei, Mellow Fields Taipei, Palais de Chine, Procter & Gamble, Regent Taipei, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Sherwood Taipei, Westin Tashee Resort Taoyuan, and W Taipei.

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