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AmCham Calls on Taiwan to Step up and Seize “Golden Opportunity” at 2022 White Paper Release Event

AmCham Calls for U.S. to Further Engage Taiwan on Global Challenges at 2022 Hsieh Nien Fan

2021 Annual General Meeting Advances Digital, Chamber Transformations

For the first time, AmCham held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) online on November 16. The meeting headline was the resounding approval of the Merger Plan to transform AmCham Taipei into AmCham Taiwan, a process begun almost a year ago at our last AGM. To underscore the significance of the occasion, over 200 participants heard remarks from two special guests: American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States Representative Hsiao Bi-khim. AmCham Chairperson CW Chin, President Andrew Wylegala, and Senior Director of Finance & Administration Jessica Chen summarized the Chamber’s achievements and status, which include the largest financial surplus in a decade, as well as the largest number of members in our 70-year history. Chin announced the founding of AmCham’s newest industry committee covering semiconductors. Finally, an update to the Chamber’s Articles of Association was approved.

 

Remarks by VIP Guest Speakers

In remarks warmly congratulating AmCham Taiwan, Representative Hsiao noted how significant the Chamber’s contributions have been to the U.S.-Taiwan bilateral relationship. Furthermore, its policy recommendations have greatly enhanced Taiwan’s business environment. Hsiao also emphasized Taiwan’s strong desire to achieve a Bilateral Trade Agreement through close collaboration with AmCham.

AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk, in turn, underscored the closeness of the AIT-AmCham relationship, exemplified by the number of Chamber events she has recently joined, or will join in the coming weeks. She then provided a comprehensive overview of leading initiatives and sectors of shared interest, singling out public health and medicine, semiconductors, smart mobility, 5G, and cybersecurity as fields meriting the closest attention through our private-public partnership.

 

Practicing resilience to keep business moving

Taking NGOs and for-profit companies online for governance meetings is new in Taiwan. Like “the making of laws and sausage,” the behind-the-scenes work of producing a first-of-its-kind virtual meeting under strict oversight is best observed at a distance, if at all. The determined staff of AmCham Taiwan had to overcome innumerable challenges, which included a rare internet outage at our building a mere 15 hours before meeting’s initiation, and the challenge of ensuring voting procedures worked for users joining via desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Identifying and documenting voting participants and achieving our mandated quorum were challenges, but ones that, pulling together, we surmounted.

 

With a lot of help from our friends  

AmCham could never have navigated the complexities of still-evolving regulator guidelines without the extensive pro bono support of law firm member Winkler Partners. We are also grateful to Cisco for providing us with a robust platform for the webinar, Deloitte for auditing our balloting, Grant Thornton for providing financial advice, and Baker McKenzie for a hand with revising our Articles of Association.

 

Election Results

This year’s AGM was separated from voting for the 2022 Board of Governors and Supervisors, which was accomplished entirely by mail for the first time. The election results can be viewed here.

The 14 staff members of AmCham Taiwan wish to express gratitude for the support received throughout this year of challenge and change from the current Board. We also congratulate the incoming Board, and the Board candidates, who continue to impress and inspire us with their drive, can-do spirit, and volunteerism.

 

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.

2021 Annual General Meeting and Board of Governors & Supervisors Election Result

AmCham is pleased to announce the results of the 2021 Virtual Annual General Meeting held Tuesday, November 16, 2021. The election results were compiled by Deloitte & Touché. The elected Governors and Supervisors are listed in alphabetical order.

2022-2023 Governors (Serving a two-year term, beginning January 1, 2022):

2022 Governors (Serving a one-year term, beginning January 1, 2022)

 

 

2022 Supervisors (Serving a one-year term, beginning January 1, 2022):

 

Other Business Items Brought to the Annual General Meetings were all approved.

Congratulations to the newly elected Governors and Supervisors!

AmCham Taiwan Hosts 2021 White Paper Press Conference

AmCham Taiwan held a virtual press conference on June 23 to announce the release of its 2021 Taiwan White Paper. The online event was hosted by AmCham Chairperson CW Chin and the Chamber’s new president, Andrew Wylegala, and was joined by around 30 members of the local and international media, as well as several government officials and Chamber members.

Chin opened the event by highlighting the importance of the White Paper and its 25-year history as an advocacy document representing the interests of the Taiwan business community, as well as a platform for the Chamber to articulate its vision for U.S.-Taiwan bilateral economic relations. Chin then introduced AmCham Taiwan’s new President, Andrew Wylegala, a veteran U.S. foreign service officer in the Department of Commerce.

In his remarks, Wylegala touched on key elements of this year’s White Paper, such as AmCham Taiwan’s multi-track advocacy strategy and the newly launched Taiwan Commercial Initiative (TCI), featured in the publication’s Messages to Washington section. In addition to restarting the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Talks, the TCI urges the U.S. government to continue and expand the Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, launch public-private partnerships involving industry and government agencies on both sides, and include Taiwan in plurilateral talks between the U.S. and other regional partners. It culminates in negotiations for a U.S.-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement.

See the full 2021 Taiwan White Paper presentation:

Chin concluded by stressing the need for Taiwan to adapt to the evolving world economy by accelerating digital transformation, increasing bilingualism, and addressing energy concerns. In addition, Chairperson Chin also highlighted that nearly 40% of the 2020 White Paper issues have been resolved or achieved significant progress – a new record for the publication.

During the media Q&A session, Wylegala emphasized that the Chamber will continue to support its member companies with resources and advocacy services should Taiwan extend the current Level 3 restrictions. Chin added that AmCham will strive to represent the interests of foreign-owned small and medium-sized businesses in Taiwan through its annual White Paper and other channels.

Regarding the much-anticipated TIFA talks, set to take place shortly, Wylegala said that he expects good progress as previous major trade impediments, such as Taiwan’s ban on the import of certain U.S. meat products, have now been cleared and new challenges, such as supply chain resilience, are being discussed.

53rd Annual Hsieh Nien Fan a Smashing Success

AmCham held its 2021 Hsieh Nien Fan banquet at the Grand Hyatt Taipei on April 21 – its 53rd such annual event and the first to be hosted by the Chamber since its name change from “AmCham Taipei” to “AmCham Taiwan.” This year’s Hsieh Nien Fan was attended by more than 691 AmCham members and their guests, and included a record number of 157 government officials. It was a night of great food, numerous photo opportunities, and lasting connections between attendees.

President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, and additional remarks were provided by AmCham Chairperson CW Chin and the American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen. This year, a few friends from Washington, including U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Counselor of the State Department Derek Chollet, and Commerce Department Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia Richard Steffens, delivered video remarks affirming their commitment to deepening U.S.-Taiwan relations.

President Tsai congratulated AmCham Taiwan on its 70th anniversary and thanked the Chamber for “always being a dependable partner to Taiwan and the United States during many critical junctures in our relationship.” She expressed gratitude to AmCham Taiwan and the US-Taiwan Business Council for establishing the US-Taiwan Bilateral Trade Agreement Coalition to promote BTA negotiations.

Tsai also thanked Leo Seewald, who had served as AmCham’s president on an interim basis since last fall, for playing a leading role in the business community and contributing to the U.S.-Taiwan partnership. At the same time, she congratulated Andrew Wylegala for taking on the role of the new AmCham Taiwan President.

Director Christensen in his speech praised AmCham members for playing a critical in the U.S.-Taiwan partnership. He emphasized that U.S.-Taiwan ties have never been stronger and expressed his belief that the two partners can work together to come up with innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The Chamber’s role will become even more critical, Christensen said, “as this economic and commercial relationship continues to expand and develop.”

Besides President Tsai and Former Vice President Chen Chien-jen, high-ranking Taiwanese officials in attendance included Secretary-General of the Presidential Office David Lee, Secretary-General of the National Security Council Wellington Koo, Secretary-General of the Executive Yuan Lee Meng-yen, Secretary-General of the Legislative Yuan Lin Chih-chua, Minister without Portfolio John Deng, National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung, Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong, Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang, Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Lin Minn-tsong, Chairman of the National Communications Commission Chen Yaw-shyang, and Chairperson of the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs Yang Jen-ni. For the first time in the Chamber’s history, representatives from Taiwan’s six municipalities attended this event. They included New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih, Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, and deputy mayors from Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung.

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

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.

Remarks by Chairperson CW Chin at the 53rd Annual Hsieh Nien Fan

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan held its 53rd annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on April 21 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 AmCham’s 53rd annual Hsieh Nien Fan, our first such event as the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan! On behalf of the Board of Governors and our 1,000-plus Members, I’d like to thank everyone involved in making this evening possible. Let’s give them a round of applause for all their hard work!

It’s my pleasure to be with you once again tonight as we celebrate another successful year as the most impactful and influential international business organization in Taiwan. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc across the world, it’s been a challenging time for everyone. We are very fortunate to be here in Taiwan, where – thanks to President Tsai and the tireless efforts of public health and other government officials – the economy is thriving, and people are able to move freely and go about their lives. Which is further exemplified here tonight, as we’ve been able to keep our unbroken record of holding the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet every year for 53 years. In fact, I hear it’s easier to get allocation for Automobile Chips from TSMC than a table at our sold-out event.

All joking aside, we are also here to celebrate Taiwan’s stellar economic achievement despite the pandemic.  While the economies of countless countries worldwide continue to suffer, Taiwan is one of the few economies that has been expanding with strong GDP growth of 2.98% last year and even higher growth forecasted for 2021 of more than 4%.  Covid has redefined the way we work and communicate – which in turn has benefited many industries where Taiwan plays a leading role in the global supply chain.  Nowhere is this more evident than in Taiwan’s semiconductor, technology and ICT sectors – in particular, local silicon-producing giants such as TSMC, UMC, and even US-based Micron.  We hope that as Taiwan basks in this golden moment of international attention and prestige, these pillars of its economic success can continue to innovate and expand, propelling Taiwan toward the future it deserves.

The Chamber is extremely pleased with the increasingly warm relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan, with many positive signals of support coming from the recently inaugurated Biden administration. We hope to keep moving forward in our efforts for greater economic cooperation between the two partners, whether through the resumption of TIFA talks, a double taxation agreement, or our ultimate goal of a U.S.-Taiwan BTA.

I’m particularly grateful for the enduring relationship we have maintained with the Taiwan government. Thanks to the coordination efforts of Minister Kung Ming-hsin 龔明鑫 and his National Development Council, we recently concluded a productive series of meetings between the Chamber’s industry committees and their relevant government agencies to discuss the 2020 White Paper issues. As we move closer to the June deadline for our 2021 Taiwan White Paper, I hope that we will have an opportunity to break last year’s record of 11 issues resolved!

As you can all see reflected in the audience here tonight, we have reached a new level of government engagement this year. Among you sit approximately 160 government officials and representatives. They come from a wide range of agencies and roles, showcasing the close working relationship and broad official support the Chamber enjoys.

I’d like to thank former Vice President 陳建仁Chen Chien-jen and chief deputy representative of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Hoshino Mitsuaki, for their first-time attendance at the Hsieh Nien Fan. And a warm welcome back to Presidential Office Secretary-General David Lee, National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo, Shen Jong-chin, and Legislative Yuan Secretary-General林世嘉 Lin Shih-chia.

We are also happy to have, for the first time in AmCham’s history, representatives from Taiwan’s six special municipalities attending this event. Thank you to Taoyuan Mayor 鄭文燦Cheng Wen-tsan, New Taipei Mayor 侯友宜 Hou You-Yi and the Deputy Mayors of Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung for coming tonight. We deeply appreciate your friendship and support and hope you will continue to join us on this special occasion in the years to come.

As we dine and enjoy each other’s company here tonight, I would like to give special mention to Leo Seewald, who stepped in as interim AmCham President last fall on short notice. During his productive tenure, Leo led the Chamber through our name change from “AmCham Taipei” to “AmCham Taiwan,” which we believe better reflects our brand and the diverse membership we represent. Leo also helped oversee the total renovation of AmCham’s office.

We are very grateful for Leo’s admirable stewardship during such a dynamic period, setting the stage for our new President, Andrew Wylegala, who joins us after a decorated 29-year career at the US Dept of Commerce, facilitating US Trade, investment and Business development abroad.  Andrew looks forward to utilizing his network and experience with the US government to further the US/Taiwan relationship. He is eager to begin work on making Taiwan even more competitive through support of the 2030 bilingual nation policy, Sovereign wealth fund initiative, and of course all of your White Paper issues!

Finally, during last year’s HNF dinner, President Tsai mentioned to me how she rarely is able to enjoy dining out due to her extremely busy schedule, which is why we are deeply honored to have her as our guest and keynote speaker again tonight.  The main purpose of Hsieh Nian Fan is to provide the Chamber with a unique way of “thanking” Government officials for their hard work and the close partnership we enjoy.  Thank you, President Tsai, for once again joining us as our keynote speaker tonight – a tradition that every president has honored the chamber with since Lee Teng-hui delivered the first presidential keynote speech at the 2000 AmCham Hsieh Nien Fan.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Madame President Tsai Ing-wen to the podium…

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.