Vastly Improved White Paper Results

Each year when AmCham Taipei prepares a new edition of its Taiwan White Paper, it asks its various industry committees to report back on the degree of progress toward resolution of their White Paper issues from the year before. As part of the review, each issue gets rated according to a five-tier scale. The top level, a number 1, signifies that the issue has been solved and is “no longer considered a problem.”

To the dismay of both the Chamber and the Taiwan authorities, the result of the exercise last year showed that not a single one of the 80 issues from the 2016 White Paper had been rated as deserving a “1.” But that disappointment was turned into determination to ensure better results in the current round of 83 issues presented in the 2017 White Paper. President Tsai Ing-wen lost no time last June in assigning the National Development Council (NDC) to meet regularly with AmCham industry representatives to discuss their concerns in detail and to coordinate with the relevant government agencies to devise practical solutions.

Over the past 11 months, the NDC has gone to great lengths to coordinate with the Chamber in an effort to move the White Paper agenda forward.  In line with the President’s instructions, then NDC Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin convened a meeting on August 30 with six selected AmCham committees with priority issues. A second session with another eight committees was convened by NDC Deputy Minister Kao Shien-quey on November 29 and a third session with three committees was presided over by Deputy Minister Kao on February 26.  And on March 30 Minister Chen Mei-ling herself presided over a marathon four-hour meeting in which representatives of 24 Chamber groups and their regulatory or supervisory agencies went through each one of the 83 White Paper issues. Additional follow-up discussions with two committees were held during April and another is scheduled for early May.

The intensive effort put in by Minister Chen and her staff to liaise with AmCham is deeply appreciated – and it has brought tangible results. As of press time, we can already confirm that nine issues have been rated as resolved – a striking improvement over the zero of last year. With another month to go before the end of this White Paper cycle, the opportunity remains to reach double digits.

Despite the marked progress, however, it is also important to note that many of the issues that have now been ticked off as “solved” were among the easier topics for the regulatory bodies to come to grips with. Numerous other recommendations that AmCham’s committees have raised may be more complicated, but are regarded as even more significant for creating a viable and dynamic business climate to ensure Taiwan’s future prosperity. We are optimistic that given the enhanced atmosphere of cooperation and understanding now created, equally constructive progress can be made in the months ahead on the remaining more challenging issues.