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Wrapping up the 2020 White Paper Meetings

Last week, AmCham Taiwan concluded the third and final meeting between its various industry committees and representatives of relevant government agencies to discuss progress on the 2020 White Paper issues. The meetings, coordinated by the National Development Council and presided over by NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin, were launched in 2018 as a way of increasing collaboration between the Chamber and the Taiwanese government and to push for better communication and resolution of industry and regulatory issues.

In general, the overall tone and direction of the meetings, which took place over three three-hour sessions, was positive. The benefit of having committee co-chairs and representatives make their case face-to-face with their government counterparts is that it allows for more in-depth discussion, and Minister Kung worked hard to find common ground between the two sides, at times suggesting one-one-one meetings to hammer out certain issues.

Among the highlights of the NDC meetings was the Financial Supervisory Commission’s (FSC) commitment to working with the Central Bank (CBC) to assist the Asset Management Committee with resolving its issue regarding the issuance of multi-currency funds by privately placed securities investment trust enterprise funds (SITE). In addition, the FSC noted that it will release a directive by the end of March allowing foreign institutional investors (FINI) to invest in exchange traded notes (ETN), helping to resolve one of the Capital Markets Committee’s 2020 issues.

Some of the government representatives present at the meetings expressed an openness to establishing direct channels with their private sector counterparts to continue discussing items where there appeared to be room for compromise or forward movement. Included among these items was the Technology Committee’s request that the government avoid prescriptive labeling of tech products – in particular, pre-loaded software applications on mobile devices – for cybersecurity purposes. The Chemical Manufacturers Committee also appeared to make some headway in persuading the government to consider adopting international standards for management of chemical products, as well as to work with the committee to help improve the public image of the chemical industry.

Other areas where progress appeared to be made included the Transportation and Logistics Committee’s 2020 White Paper issue regarding expanding fiscal incentives for electric vehicle buyers. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) representative cited its plans to extend the commodity tax exemption for electric vehicle purchases, which was set to expire at the end of 2021. The Intellectual Property and Licensing Committee was invited by the National Communications Commission (NCC) to join a working group composed of the NCC, the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (TIPO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to discuss difficult IPR issues.

Not all of the discussions proceeded equally smoothly, and there were some longstanding issues that continue to require further communication between industry and the regulators. Chief among these is the Medical Devices Committee’s recommendation that the government accept the Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) audit report as a substitute for the current Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) for the review and approval of new medical devices. AmCham hopes that the relevant stakeholders of these issues can continue working together to achieve actionable solutions.

The Chamber is grateful to Minister Kung and his colleagues at the NDC for their assistance in arranging the quarterly White Paper meetings, as well as to the various government agencies for their time and willingness to communicate and work with AmCham’s industry committees. AmCham looks forward to continuing its advocacy work through its annual production of the Taiwan White Papers and its collaboration with industry and public sector partners.

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).”

 

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AmCham “CEO Mission to Washington” Trip

Each year, the release of the Taiwan White Paper is followed by a “CEO Mission to Washington”. The central purpose of the trip is to promote the Chamber’s agenda for this year and facilitate its advocacy efforts. The delegation will exchange views with U.S. government officials, members of Congress, think tanks, and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. This is an opportunity for AmCham to provide briefings on the business climate in Taiwan and to learn about the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Taiwan, especially at a time of growing pressure from China.

The group will present the Taiwan White Paper to contacts in Washington and remind them of the economic and strategic importance of Taiwan. In the Messages to Washington section of the Taiwan White Paper, AmCham urges the U.S. administration and Congress to take into consideration ways to broaden and deepen the American relationship with Taiwan.

Read or download the complete Taiwan White Paper.

  • Suggestion 1: Enter into negotiations with Taiwan for a bilateral trade agreement (BTA).
  • Suggestion 2: Set the stage for BTA negotiations through the resumption of TIFA Council meetings.
  • Suggestion 3: Arrange more high-level government visits in both directions.
  • Suggestion 4: Implement tax reforms to relieve burdens on Americans overseas and help promote U.S. exports.

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.