AmCham releases 2018 White Paper on Taiwan's business climate

The 2018 report shows excellent progress over 2017, Taiwan is 'on the right track' to stand out as an innovative country and a favorable location for international business

AmCham President William Foreman (L) and Chairman Albert Chang (R) present the 2018 White Paper

AmCham President William Foreman (L) and Chairman Albert Chang (R) present the 2018 White Paper (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taiwan, released their annual White Paper on issues in various industries, government regulations, and the overall business climate in Taiwan, on June 6.

The Chairman of AmCham, Albert Chang, spoke at the press conference about the progress that has been made in a number of areas over the past year. According to Chang, this year’s report represents an exceptionally positive state of affairs for business in Taiwan, in marked contrast to the underwhelming report that was issued in 2017.

In last year’s report, out of 80 problems identified by the chamber, AmCham was unable to report that any had been resolved, and only 8 were showing decent progress at this time last year.

In comparison, this year, out of 83 issues or problem areas identified, AmCham is proud to announce that 11 of them have been entirely solved, and a further 21 are showing significant progress. These numbers represent a new high mark for the organization’s efforts to enrich and stimulate Taiwan’s economy, making it a more attractive country for foreign investment, and business opportunity.

After the stalled progress in 2016, AmCham adopted new tactics in 2017 to tackle issues in various industries and those involving the government. Chang emphasized that AmCham has received unprecedented levels of cooperation with the Taiwanese government over the last year, and that he feels that Taiwan is “on the verge of something special” in terms of economic growth, development, and the potential for cooperation between U.S. businesses and other multinational firms.

AmCham officials also specifically mentioned the role that the Minister of the National Development Council, Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) played in much of the successes they have seen over the past year. Albert Chang as well as AmCham President William Foreman both expressed their immense gratitude for the work the Minister has done and the commitment she has shown to energizing Taiwan’s economy.

---Successes noted by the 2018 White Paper---

According to the White Paper, the following eleven issues have all been successfully addressed thanks to the cooperation of AmCham officials, the Taiwanese government and representatives in specific industries:

1. Cosmetics: Other countries’ Good Manufacturing Practices have been recognized a equivalent to Taiwan’s under the recent Cosmetic Act legislation.

2. Human Resources: The government has developed more thorough regulations for overtime work and pay.

3. Human Resources: The government has developed more thorough regulations providing for, and governing annual leave for workers.

4. Pharmaceuticals: The government passed a Patent Linkage and Data Exclusivity Act, which will strengthen IP protection across the industry in Taiwan.

5. Public Health: An effective and sustainable national program for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis has been established.

6. Real Estate: The government has made efforts to simplify the process for urban renewal projects, helping to ensure safe, quality housing.

7. Tax: The government has been encouraged to review outdated and unreasonable tax regulations.

8. Technology: The scope of critical infrastructure involved in the Cyber Securities Management Act has been clearly defined, which will make legislation and regulations more effective moving forward.

9. Transportation and Logistics: An effective communication platform ensuring transparency and efficiency for customs clearance regulations has been established.

10. Transportation and Logistics: Reasonable customs procedures for e-commerce goods have been implemented and are in practice.

11. Transportation and Logistics: Export and Import processing for air cargo and express terminals no longer require separate facilities, officials or procedures.

---Recommendations for Taiwan---

Chang said that the current developments are very encouraging and that the Taiwanese government is on a positive track. Moving forward, AmCham advises that in order to really capitalize on the opportunities and potential that Taiwan possesses, that an “innovative spirit must be thoroughly embraced throughout the government.”

Another area that Taiwan needs to work on is the assurance for foreign investors that the country’s power supply will remain stable. This is a crucial are for Taiwanese authorities to consider as the country aims to “Go Green” eliminating nuclear power by 2025, and drastically reducing electric power from burning coal by 2030.

Further items that AmCham recommends is a commitment to transparency in government and ensuring reasonable business regulations. Taiwan should likewise improve upon the current Labor Standards Act to allow for innovative approaches to managing labor flow, work hours and salary.

The AmCham officials also noted that they would be making an annual visit to Washington D.C. next month, where they will give several policy suggestions to lawmakers in D.C.

---Recommendations for Washington---

AmCham suggests that Washington can also step up its own role in creating a thriving market for business and innovation in Taiwan by doing the following:

1. Hold regular council talks on trade and investment issues with Taiwanese official in accordance with the Trade Investment Framework Agreement established in 1994.

2. Explore various ways to deepen economic cooperation with Taiwan, including a potential bilateral free trade agreement between Washington and Taipei.

3. More high level governmental visits and exchanges should be arranged in accordance with the Taiwan Travel Act.

4. Washington should also consider implementing tax reforms to relieve undue burdens on Americans working overseas, and to promote U.S. exports abroad.

The complete White Paper can be viewed as a PDF on the website for the American Chamber of Commerce.