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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.

2021 Taiwan White Paper: Overview

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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