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 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.
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.
Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin called on AmCham Taipei on July 13 to brief members of the Chamber leadership on the status of 2018 Taiwan White Paper issues related to MOEA. Accompanying the Minister were officials from MOEA’s Investment Commission, Bureau of Energy, Intellectual Property Office, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Foreign Trade, and Industrial Development Bureau.
Representing AmCham were Chairman Albert Chang, President William Foreman, Vice Chairman Vincent Shih, Governors Tim Ju and Revital Golan, Supervisor Petra Jumpers, and Senior Directors Don Shapiro and Amy Chang.
The Minister’s one-hour briefing covered the following topics:
- Energy policy. Shen provided assurance that energy supply would be sufficient – and utility prices remain reasonable – as Taiwan transforms to an energy mix that eliminates nuclear power generation by 2015.
- Copyright piracy by overseas websites. The government is seeking to crack down through international cooperation and reducing infringing websites’ access to advertising revenue, but is reluctant to engage in site blocking in the absence of a legal basis and public consensus.
- Copyright Law amendments. MOEA has been consulting with stakeholders on ways to protect OTT service providers against infringement by illegal apps and websites. It will also work with the National Communications Commission and Ministry of Education on additional ways to curb the growing volume of violations through illegal streaming mobile apps and front-loaded set-top boxes.
- The Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee’s suggestion to raise the minimum compensation to NT$30,000 per infringement for situations where the actual damage is difficult to prove. MOEA has decided to keep the minimum at NT$10,000.
- Enhancing Taiwan’s startup ecosystem. MOEA has been liberalizing restrictions on the types of permissible corporate shareholdings. It has also been cooperating with the National Development Fund to provide more tax incentives for venture capital firms to be active in this market.
- Expanding facilities for conferences and exhibitions. The scheduled opening next March of Hall 2 of the Nangang Exhibition Center will greatly enhance Taiwan’s capability in this field.
- Treating investment applications by private equity (PE) firms. These investments are welcome and not considered any differently from other applications.
Minister Shen offered to meet with AmCham regularly in the future to discuss these and any other pertinent issues in more detail.
Following release each year of the Taiwan White Paper, AmCham Taipei sends a delegation to Washington D.C. for what is called the “Washington Doorknock.” This year’s Doorknock will take place June 18-22, and will involve more than 40 meetings with U.S. government officials from the executive and legislative branch offices, think tanks, and others interested in the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship. It is always an excellent opportunity for AmCham to provide briefings on the state of the business climate in Taiwan and to learn about the latest developments in U.S. policy toward Taiwan and the Asian region.
The Messages to Washington section of the Taiwan White Paper outlines the essential points AmCham wishes to share with the U.S. government, as shown in the accompanying infographic. Download the complete Taiwan White Paper.
During the preparation of the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, AmCham Taipei’s committees reviewed and rated the status of issues raised in the 2017 White Paper. Based on a five-tier scale, 21 items were placed in Category 2, meaning “Showing Good Progress.” Of the 21 items, eight were identified by the committees as having strong enough progress that the issue did not need to be raised again. The other 13 issues rated in Category 2 reappear in this year’s White Paper.
Although all of the 76 suggestions raised in this year’s Taiwan White Paper are important and deserve consideration, AmCham Taipei recommends that the authorities pay special attention to these re-raised 13 issues below. Committee experts are confident that the positive momentum from this past year’s collaboration with the Taiwan government through the National Development Council will continue, hopefully enabling these 13 issues to be fully resolved.
AmCham Taipei has put together an infographic summarizing these Category 2 issues, spanning across 8 industries from Banking to Travel & Tourism.
The 2018 edition of AmCham Taipei’s annual Taiwan White Paper was released on June 6 with a news conference followed by a membership luncheon, both at the Regent Taipei hotel.
The news conference, which generated wide coverage, was attended by representatives from 32 local and international print and broadcast media organizations. Chamber President William Foreman opened the event by explaining the significance of the White Paper. He noted that the purpose is not merely to try to solve problems affecting AmCham member companies, but more importantly to help “Taiwan become more prosperous and more successful.” Since most of those member companies are deeply rooted in Taiwan – many have been operating in Taiwan for decades – Taiwan’s success and their success are intertwined.
AmCham Chairman Albert Chang then provided the journalists with a PowerPoint presentation of the highlights of the 2018 Taiwan White Paper:
- A record high of 11 committee issues resolved (compared to zero last year), with 21 other issues showing good progress.
- Unprecedented cooperation from the National Development Council thanks to the personal efforts of Minister Chen Mei-ling.
- The selection of 13 priority issues for attention in the coming year. These are issues, carried over from last year, that were rated as showing good progress and should require only a bit more effort to finalize.
- A series of broad-based suggestions on steps Taiwan should take to enhance its attractiveness for foreign investment.
The presentations were repeated at the luncheon, which was attended by some 120 AmCham members and guests. The guest of honor was National Development Council (NDC) Minister Chen Mei-ling, who received the White Paper on behalf of the Taiwan government and expressed her thanks to AmCham for its “valuable suggestions that have made an important contribution to the improvement of Taiwan’s business environment.” In her remarks, she also disclosed recent progress in several areas of concern to AmCham member companies:
- Working-hour conditions under the Labor Standards Act. Similar to the recommendation in the 2018 Taiwan White Paper, the NDC has suggested to the Ministry of Labor that supervisory and administrative personnel or professionals with a certain salary level be exempt from the current legal restrictions on working hours.
- Implementation of a member-choice labor pension scheme to allow those with greater risk appetite to seek higher returns. Minister Chen said the government would phase in this approach, starting with the young generation.
- Providing legal recognition to the chiropractic profession (the longest standing White Paper issue). Chen said the government is adopting an open-minded approach, looking for a win-win solution.
For a fuller discussion of the White Paper contents and Minister Chen’s luncheon remarks, see the Topics Online website.