The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei held its 49th annual Hsieh Nien Fan banquet on March 22 in the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Taipei. This year’s attendance was a record high of nearly 700 AmCham Taipei members and guests.
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.
Attending for the first time since taking office last May, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered the keynote speech, becoming the fourth president of the Republic of China to do so. She commended AmCham Taipei, noting that “for 66 years this chamber has served as a vital bridge between Taiwan, the United States, and the business communities of our two countries.” Citing AmCham Taipei’s annual Doorknock delegation to Washington D.C., Tsai said that “without these efforts, the Taiwan-U.S. partnership would not be in the robust health it is in today.”
The president said that with a new administration now in office in the United States, “we have entered a new stage of Taiwan-U.S. relations.” She outlined her government’s plans to strengthen that relationship in three areas:
- Strategic. Taiwan is supporting peace-keeping efforts in Iraq and Syria by assisting with international mine-removal efforts; in January it also donated a mobile hospital for use in Iraq. In addition, Taiwan will make greater investment in its own defense, to the benefit of peace and stability in the region, and will seek more cooperation with American defense firms as it builds up an indigenous defense industry and procures more military systems from the United States. This initiative, together with programs in aerospace and cybersecurity, will help create thousands of jobs in Taiwan and the U.S., Tsai said.
- Trade. The United States is already Taiwan’s second largest trading partner, with trade in goods and services reaching US$85 billion last year. Faced with the Trump administration’s America First policy, however, “Taiwan is prepared to make adjustments” – emphasizing not only free trade but fair trade, the president said. Referring to her background as a trade negotiator, she said “I firmly believe that through communication and negotiation, trade conflicts and other differences can always be resolved.” She stated her hope that Taiwan and the U.S. can “work together toward a new bilateral trade agreement – preferably, of course, FTA-type.”
- Investment. Taiwan will send its largest ever delegation to attend the SelectUSA investment summit in Washington this June to actively seek opportunities to invest in the United States. At the same time, Taiwan’s 5+2 innovation program will open new opportunities for cooperation and investment in Taiwan by U.S. companies and for the purchase of American goods.
Opening the evening were remarks by AmCham Taipei Chairman, Albert Chang, who expressed thanks on behalf of the Chamber to both the Taiwan government and AIT for helping to promote a positive business environment in Taiwan. He stressed the findings of AmCham Taipei’s recent 2017 Business Climate Survey that an already excellent business environment – especially with regard to quality of life and human capital – could easily be further improved through greater regulatory transparency and consistency.
Director Kin W. Moy of the American Institute in Taiwan also spoke, stressing the opportunities for further U.S.-Taiwan economic cooperation through such channels as the ongoing dialogue as part of the TIFA (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) platform, bilateral Digital Economy Forums, Global Cooperation and Training Framework, International Environmental Partnership, and APEC.
Besides President Tsai, other high-level Taiwan government dignitaries in attendance this year included:
- National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Joseph Wu
- Legislative Yuan Secretary General Jih-Jia Lin
- Executive Yuan Minister without Portfolio John Chen-Chung Deng
- Minister of Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong
- Minister of Foreign Affairs David Tawei Lee
- Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-Gee
- Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung
- Environmental Protection Administration Minister Lee Ying-Yuan
- National Communications Commission Chairperson Nicole T.I. Chan
The event would not have been possible without the contribution of 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 Motor, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Grand Hyatt Taipei, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Tobacco Institute of the Republic of China.
- Wine & Liquor: Diageo Taiwan, Sergio Valente