AmCham Sees No Significant Improvement in Business Conditions

amcham white paper

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) published it’s annual white paper this morning with the conclusion that, from the perspective of multinational companies in Taiwan, no significant improvements have been made since last year.

The “2017 Taiwan White Paper” says, “Not a single committee-level issue has been rated as entirely solved.” It was the second time that AmCham has made that statement since it began publishing white papers on Taiwan in 2007. However, eight of last year’s suggestions were rated as showing good progress in the form of “satisfactory follow-up.”

The most significant improvement noted by AmCham was the extension of the notice and comment period for new regulations from 14 days to 60 days, which the white paper says is a major advancement in government transparency.

The organization noted that a bill creating a patent linkage system to protect the intellectual property of drugs that are under patent in Taiwan has been drafted but not yet enacted. Such intellectual property legislation has been included in the organization’s white paper for the last decade.

Among issues that AmCham labeled as seeing good progress were implementing “a national program for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis” and simplifying “the urban renewal process to ensure housing safety and quality.” It also said there was progress in developing renewable energy, such as wind power.

Last year’s white paper urged President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration to focus on reinvigorating the economy, which it noted was aided by an improvement in the global economy. However, this year it called the business environment for multinationals in Taiwan a “mixed bag.”

In relation to labor law and the implementation of new labor laws that included revisions to overtime rules and compensation, the organization notes, “White-collar professionals cherish freedom and flexibility in their work environment. They wish to be treated with dignity and respect commensurate with their level of education and expertise, and evaluated based on the quality of their job performance, not on the number of hours shown on a timesheet.”

The white paper also recommended negotiating a new bilateral trade deal with the US in light of President Trump’s backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would have included Taiwan. It also recommended that the US amend laws related to Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Foreign Bank Account Report (FBAR), while noting that Taiwan could lessen the burden on American citizens and businesses in Taiwan.

The white paper includes a total of 83 issues with recommendations, covering travel & tourism, sustainable development, banking, public health, capital markets, and technology, among others.

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