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AmCham Taipei Marks 65th Anniversary

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AmCham Chairman Dan Silver (left), AIT Deputy Director Robert Forden (center), and AmCham President Andrea Wu toast on stage to celebrate the 65th anniversary of AmCham Taipei

With a gala reception attended by nearly 100 members and guests, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei on Sept. 22 celebrated the 65th anniversary of its establishment. The event was held at the Taipei 47 restaurant on the 47th floor of the Cathay Landmark building, offering attendees spectacular views of nighttime Taipei.

In brief remarks, AmCham Chairman Dan Silver highlighted some of AmCham’s key achievements over the past year, including the highly successful 2016 “Doorknock” visit to Washington, D.C. in mid-June and its advocacy efforts on behalf of more transparency and public engagement in the Taiwan government’s process for drafting new laws and regulations.

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Another new development for AmCham Taipei was the expansion of its physical space to open its own well-equipped conference facility, the Lincoln Room, one floor below the main AmCham office. So far, the Lincoln Room has served as the venue for Chamber events such as press conferences, government visits, luncheons, workshops, seminars, happy hours, and marketplace sessions, and it is also available for rental by member companies and others.

Silver also called attention to the offering of digital versions of the contents of the Chamber’s popular monthly publication, Taiwan Business TOPICS.

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Representing the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Deputy Director Robert Forden expressed appreciation for AmCham’s longstanding efforts to strengthen economic relations between Taiwan and the United States. He cited the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper as providing excellent reference for both the Taiwan and U.S. governments regarding the needs of multinational businesses operating in Taiwan.

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2016 AmCham Taipei Washington Doorknock

2016 DK Senator John McCain

AmCham Taipei conducted its 2016 Doorknock mission to Washington D.C. from June 20 to 24. Pictured above: Arizona Senator John McCain with AmCham Chairman Dan Silver and other members of the group.

This year’s AmCham Taipei Doorknock delegation, led by Chairman Dan Silver and President Andrea Wu, stressed the importance – for both Taiwan and the U.S. – of Taiwan entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when it expands beyond the original 12 members.

At some points dividing into teams, the group met with representatives from 48 different offices and organizations, calling on members of the U.S. Executive Branch, U.S. Congress, the Taiwan Representative, and others. (See the full list below)

Doorknock Delegation with Congressman Matt Salmon (Arizona-R)

Delegation members with Congressman Matt Salmon (R-Arizona)

Key Takeaways

  • Although free-trade agreements have been the object of much criticism in the U.S. during this election year, the U.S. government remains committed to seeing the pact come into being. Progress is being made toward gaining broader U.S. industry support by resolving points of dissatisfaction that sectors such as pharmaceuticals and financial services have had with the TPP text.
  • A Congressional vote on TPP in a year-end “lame duck” session is a strong possibility, though not a certainty. Otherwise the vote would need to be either early in the next presidential term or after the 2018 mid-term elections.
  • Serious consideration of second-round TPP candidates will need to wait for the agreement’s entry into force. But Taiwan and Korea are being widely mentioned, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Colombia.
  • China is already making known its opposition to Taiwan entering into TPP. Taiwan therefore needs to take urgent steps to demonstrate its qualifications – beyond any doubt – by showing firm commitment to international standards and practices. It also needs to work on resolving outstanding major trade issues with all 12 TPP countries.
2016 DK Ambassador Holleyman- USTR (1)

The delegation met with Ambassador Robert Holleyman, the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

  • Preparations are under way for the annual U.S.-Taiwan TIFA talks to be held in Washington in the second half of the year. The U.S. side emphasizes the importance of making concrete progress on the various issues that will be on the table.
  • AmCham Taipei’s proposal for a second-generation Administrative Procedure Act met with enthusiastic support from many offices. There is appreciation that a single notification platform for proposed regulatory changes, ample time for the public to comment, and a mechanism for government agencies to respond would usher in a much more transparent and effective regulatory regime.
  • The U.S. government has been increasingly engaging with Taiwan in a wide variety of spheres. As the U.S. moves to devote more attention to Asia and the Tsai administration seeks to diversify Taiwan’s trade and investment, there should be more and more opportunities for productive cooperation between Washington and Taipei.
Delegation with Representative Erik Paulsen (Minessota)

Team members with Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-Minnesota)

 

Visits

U.S. Executive Branch

  • National Security Council
  • Department of State
    • Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
    • Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)
  • Department of Commerce – International Trade Administration
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • American Institute in Taiwan/Washington
2016 DK Asst Secretary Kumar- Commerce

At the Department of Commerce, the group met with Arun Kumar, the Assistant Secretary for Trade Promotion

U.S. Congress

  • Offices of 10 Senators and 15 Representatives
  • House Ways and Means Committee staff
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff
  • Congressional Research Service
2016 DK Senator Grassley

AmCham President Andrea Wu and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Other Organizations

  • AdvaMed
  • Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Brookings Institution
  • Council for Strategic and International Studies
  • DPP Liaison in Washington
  • Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT)
  • National Foreign Trade Council
  • Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • PhRMA
  • Samuels International Associate
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • U.S.-Taiwan Business Council
  • U.S. -Taiwan Business Forum
  • U.S. Green Building Council

Taiwan Representative

  • Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

AmCham’s 2016 Golf Championship

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Pitch the Candidate

A total of 58 golfers, organized into 15 teams, took part in AmCham Taipei’s 2016 Golf Championship, held May 27 at the Kuo Hua Golf & Country Club in Tamsui.

With a full shot-gun start, all players teed-off promptly at 6:30 a.m., following the Texas Scramble format. The day saw clear skies with hot temperatures, but players stayed refreshed with non-alcoholic drinks generously sponsored by Swire Coca-Cola, tequila cocktails by Patron Spirits, and craft beer by Steve’s Brew.

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For the first time at the AmCham Taipei Golf Championship – held annually by the Chamber since 2011 – a side activity called “Pitch the Candidate” was introduced at this year’s event. In addition to the regular 18-hole tournament, golfers could take aim at signs bearing the photo of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Each successful hit was awarded with a sleeve of top-quality golf balls.

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Thanks to hole-sponsors Allianz, Corning, and Intel, golfers had the chance to win Nearest to the Pin contests at every Par-3 hole, as well as Longest Drive on two Par-5 holes.

All participants also took home “goody bags” filled with golf balls courtesy of Sanfu Global’s Simon Chang to celebrate his “Hole-in-One” achieved on March 4 this year, as well as other take-aways provided by Asian Tigers, Costco Taiwan, and Synergy Net.

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Tournament Results

Team handicaps for this year’s tournament were determined using the Peoria system, with the six special holes drawn randomly by players during the awards lunch. IGST Rockys (Joe Welsh, Ray Koot, Donato Scioscioli, and Henry Wang) won the championship, followed by AmCham 3 (Sam Lo, Susan Huang, Jesse Chen, and Charles Liang) as runner-up, and Air Products San Fu 3 (Paul Yang, Patrick Chen, Ally Kim, and Jeff Chung) in third place. Other golfers also had opportunities to win prizes in the lucky draws that followed, with products sponsored by Audi, Ballantine’s, Costco, Delta Airlines, Grand Hyatt Taipei, He Feng Chinese Cuisine, Howard Plaza Taipei, IGST, Patron Spirits, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei, Silks Place Taroko, The Place Tainan, and The Sherwood Taipei.

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Before ending lunch, AmCham President Andrea Wu extended special thanks to the 2016 AmCham Golf Committee – Simon Chang, Doug Klein, Joe Welsh, and Lee Wood – for their expert advice on all things golf-related.

AmCham Releases 2016 Taiwan White Paper at Annual Luncheon

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Revamping the Taiwan government’s rules-making procedures, preparing a stellar case for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) candidacy, ensuring a stable and reliable supply of energy and water, and boosting Taiwan’s ability to attract and retain talent – these were the main recommendations presented by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei when launching the 2016 Taiwan White Paper on June 2.

Nearly a hundred AmCham Taipei members and guests gathered at the Regent Taipei for the release of the annual benchmark advocacy document, which provides the Chamber’s recommendations to the Taiwan government on ways to strengthen the Taiwan business climate. This year’s White Paper proposed a total of 80 suggestions from 20 AmCham committee plus three other industry groups.

Accepting the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government was Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the National Development Council (NDC).

AmCham Chairman Dan Silver told the audience that “Taiwan can be a leader across many, many fields and can achieve things that other economies and countries in the region cannot.” But he added that “action is needed” for these positive developments to occur.

Deputy Minister Kung accepted the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Deputy Minister Kung accepted the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government.

Silver emphasized the government’s need for a more transparent regulatory process, calling attention to Taiwan’s Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a statute that governs the country’s regulation-making procedures. “We are calling on the administrative to look at the APA as an opportunity to step up engagement with the public at the Executive Yuan level,” he stated. Currently, Taiwan’s public-comment period is only seven days, which Silver argued does not allow ample time for feedback. In addition, government agencies normally do not respond to the public comments.

Extending the notification and comment period to 60 days, providing a single website as the platform for feedback to proposed regulations by all government agencies, and requiring the agencies to post their response would create a more transparent process and result in more effective and practical regulations, Silver said. APA reform would also “provide solid evidence of Taiwan’s seriousness about promoting its second-round candidacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he added.

APA reform would “provide solid evidence of Taiwan’s seriousness about promoting its second-round candidacy for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” 

The chairman also highlighted the need for the government to ensure a stable energy supply as it tries both to phase out nuclear power and sharply decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In the White Paper, AmCham urges the government to present a detailed, data-driven and realistic plan for meeting future energy demand. Silver also discussed the need for labor regulations that suit the desire by knowledge workers to enjoy flexible working conditions that spur innovation and creativity. 

Chairman Dan Silver presented (?) the WP earlier that day at a press conference

Chairman Silver presented the advocacy document as a press conference earlier that day.

Looking back at the issues raised in the 2015 edition of the White Paper, Silver noted that six issues had been completely resolved, while another eight have shown significant progress. The resolved issues include two each from the Asset Management and Banking Committees, one from Sustainable Development, and one from Technology.

In remarks after accepting the 2016 White Paper, Deputy Minister Kung emphasized the crucial importance for Taiwan’s economic future of gaining membership in the second round of TPP. He also touched on the issues of attracting foreign talent and curbing domestic brain drain, suggesting possible stipends for Taiwanese students to matriculate abroad in exchange for commitments to return to work domestically after graduating.

“Within the first 100 days after Tsai’s inauguration, there is a real opportunity to articulate goals and point the economy in the right direction for improvement.”

He also underscored the new government’s desire to improve public communication and coordination among government agencies. He noted that under the Tsai Ing-wen administration, the NDC will play an even more important role, in that Cabinet ministers will attend Council meetings and develop a consensus on economic policies before they are submitted to the Executive Yuan for final approval.

As the new government has been in office only since May 20, the White Paper comes at an important transitional time for Taiwan. Silver noted that “within the first 100 days after Tsai’s inauguration, there is a real opportunity to articulate goals and point the economy in the right direction for improvement.”

The 2016 Taiwan White Paper can be found online at www.amcham.com.tw/advocacy/white-paper.

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