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ECCT meeting with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je

On 2 April an ECCT delegation led by Chairman Bernd Barkey and CEO Freddie Hoeglund met with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and senior Taipei City Government (TCG) officials at Taipei City Hall. It was the ECCT's first meeting with Mayor Ko. The agenda included a brief introduction to the ECCT, after which quality of living issues and other issues affecting ECCT members were discussed. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mayor Ko agreed to hold regular routine roundtable meetings with the ECCT in the future.

At the meeting Mayor Ko welcomed the ECCT delegation and expressed a willingness to listen to the views of the European business community in Taiwan, given the fact that Europeans represent the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan, with over US$33 billion invested in Taiwan. ECCT Chairman Barkey gave the mayor a brief overview of the ECCT, stressing why Taipei is important to its members. He noted that Taipei is the home of the ECCT and the headquarters of most of its member companies, who are involved in all major sectors of the economy, provide thousands of jobs and generate wealth for the Taipei economy. He added that he believed that Taipei has a lot of potential for future development in many areas such as tourism, smart grids, IT, retail, financial services and green transportation and that ECCT members can offer expertise and investment in many areas that will benefit the city and people of Taipei. He emphasized that because many ECCT members live and work in Taipei, they care not only about business but how to make the quality of life better for all residents of Taipei. He then proceeded to hand over to Tim Berge, Co-Chair of the ECCT's Better Living committee and Mike Jewell, ECCT Supervisor, to talk about issues important to foreigners living and working in Taipei.

Berge and Jewell (who is also a Senior Research Director with TNS Taiwan) gave a brief summary of the ECCT's recently-released 2014 Quality of Living Survey, commissioned by the ECCT to TNS. They informed the mayor that, on the whole, foreigners living in Taiwan were satisfied with the quality of living in Taiwan but that there was room for improvement in certain areas such as air quality and traffic safety. Specifically, they noted a lack of enforcement of traffic regulations. CEO Hoeglund also brought up the point that safety belts are not compulsory for minibuses that transport young children, putting their lives in danger. ECCT delegates also noted the lack of a single emergency number in Taiwan, which could result in response delays in critical emergency situations.

In response, Mayor Ko said that he had made a note all of the ECCT's concerns and would follow up on them. At the conclusion of the meeting, delegates discussed future cooperation. Mayor Ko agreed that it was important to hold regular routine exchanges with the ECCT in the form of roundtable meetings in the future. Staff members from the ECCT and the TCG will meet to discuss arrangements and announce on the details at a later date.