Seizing the Spotlight

AmCham Taiwan’s 27th annual Taiwan White Paper, presented on June 7 this year, garnered unprecedented media coverage. More than 50 articles and over a dozen TV news stories reported on its main themes.  

Like the Chamber’s 2023 White Paper, Taiwan has recently been placed under the spotlight. As noted in the White Paper, Taiwan’s exemplary handling of the Covid pandemic, the worldwide semiconductor shortage that underscored its vital high-tech prowess, and the geopolitical tension in the Taiwan Strait have attracted significant global attention. 

But this kind of attention can be fleeting, and the time is ripe for Taiwan to capitalize on the momentum to bolster its internal resilience and forge stronger ties with the international community. To quote the White Paper, a “business as usual” mindset will not suffice. Instead, Taiwan must embrace this opportunity to evolve and adapt to the changing global landscape. 

The White Paper underscores the importance of establishing a clear roadmap for implementation of agreements resulting from the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade negotiations. Keeping industry stakeholders well informed of the progress will be a necessary condition for meeting the objectives of enhancing Taiwan’s economic vitality and global standing.  

Prompt action on the 95 specific, practical recommendations in AmCham’s White Paper to improve the business climate would signal Taiwan’s commitment to becoming an exceptional partner for trade and investment. To this end, the Chamber looks forward to revitalizing the established process for reviewing the White Paper recommendations with Taiwan government officials, treating it as a vital opportunity to propel Taiwan to new heights of economic competitiveness. 

A key component of the bilateral 21st-Century Initiative is harmonizing Taiwan’s regulatory approaches with those of major world economies. Crucially, fostering good regulatory practices (GRP) is essential for resolving outstanding issues and stimulating industrial development responsibly.  

A cornerstone of GRP is to give sufficient public notice of prospective changes to the regulatory framework and provide a platform for effective stakeholder comment. The Chamber has noted that Taiwan’s 60-day notice and comment period has not met expectations in practice. In just one quarter of 2022, AmCham tracked more than 50 instances where the allowed notice period was shorter than 60 days. What is needed is a clearer definition of urgent situations justifying an exception to the 60-day rule and a requirement that government agencies provide an explanation for any such deviation. 

Taiwan’s energy policy was the topic most frequently highlighted in the media’s White Paper coverage. As the government’s ambitious program to alter Taiwan’s energy mix has fallen behind schedule, more effort is needed to ensure energy security and sufficiency. In the White Paper, AmCham called on the government to streamline energy development projects, provide greater incentives for investment, and explore alternative energy sources like geothermal and green hydrogen. 

Strengthening critical infrastructure, accelerating digital transformation, and investing more in healthcare – all crucial for bolstering resilience in the face of internal and external challenges – were other White Paper themes. Further, labor laws need modernization to reflect the diversity of the modern labor market and attract foreign professional talent, and vocational education should be promoted to meet the demand for blue-collar jobs. Concluding a double-taxation avoidance agreement with the United States would support outward investment and enhance economic relations. 

To achieve these ambitions, increased communication and collaboration between AmCham and regulatory authorities are imperative. The Chamber looks forward to accelerating its efforts to improve the trade and investment climate during its 2023/24 White Paper cycle to pave the way for Taiwan’s continued prosperity.