ECCT stresses building resilience at Europe Day Dinner
ECCT stresses building resilience at Europe Day Dinner
The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) called for greater cooperation with the government in order to build greater resilience in the economy and society. In his speech at the annual Europe Day Dinner, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo stressed the need for cooperation to strengthen resilience needed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The dinner was attended by over 700 distinguished guests including President Tsai Ying-wen, Filip Grzegorzewski, Head of the European Union’s (EU) European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan, senior government officials and executives from European and Taiwanese companies. At the dinner, speeches were given by President Tsai, the EETO head and the ECCT chairman. This year’s dinner celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Schumann Declaration in 1950, which paved the way for the creation of what has evolved into today's European Union.
In his speech at the dinner, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo praised President Tsai and her administration for their enlightened leadership and rapid, proactive and pragmatic actions, which had helped Taiwan to avoid the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he went on to say that despite these efforts, given that the pandemic is not yet over, business and government have a responsibility to build a more resilient economy and society.
The chairman lauded Taiwan’s healthcare system and officials for their exceptional performance during the pandemic. However, he pointed out that Taiwan’s spending on healthcare, at around 6% of GDP compared to around 9% in OECD countries, means that patients sometimes do not get access to advanced healthcare solutions being introduced in other countries that are necessary for an ageing population and an increase in chronic diseases. To improve the resilience of the healthcare system he urged additional investments in disease prevention, treatments and other preparations for possible future pandemics and more flexible business models to increase private sector involvement in healthcare. He went on to reiterate the ECCT’s support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the World Health Organisation.
This chairman noted that the current crisis also offers a great opportunity to help international companies diversify and strengthen their supply chains by investing in Taiwan. However, the post-Covid-19 economy and supply chain realignment will rely on more than capital. Taiwan needs to continue to support and follow international standards and best practices if it is to attract the best international companies, he said. This will be helped by the government’s ongoing efforts to create a bilingual nation and the promotion of English fluency in education, government and the private sector.
In addition, he said that more could be done to attract a more diverse range of foreign talent, such as simplifying current recruitment incentive programmes and immigration regulations. He also reiterated that removing the remaining instances of unequal treatment of foreign residents would make foreigners feel more welcome and thereby help to attract and retain foreign talent. Furthermore, in order to foster an environment for building a resilient and dynamic workforce, Taiwan’s labour laws need reforms that take into account the complexities of both modern workplaces and remote working.
On the subject of the environment, the chairman went on to outline some actions that could help to limit the damage from climate change, especially speeding up decarbonisation and working towards creating a completely circular economy. He noted that green energy represents and huge opportunity for Taiwan to provide energy security, reduce pollution and create a whole new high value industry in Taiwan. But micromanaging the process risks derailing local industry development. For this reason, he urged the government to allow the local industry to develop organically and ensure that local content requirements are flexible and adaptable to changing industry trends and standards.
Along with green energy, further electrification of the transport and industrial sectors will greatly reduce Taiwan’s carbon emissions, according to the chairman. A successful energy transition will require a roadmap with annual targets for a nationwide electric vehicle charging system that is aligned with international standards. In addition, technologies such as hybrids, fuel cells and renewable synthetic fuels have significant potential. And to compensate for wind and solar fluctuations, smart grids and grid balancing technologies using hydrogen, liquid air or battery storage systems are also necessary, he said.
The chairman concluded that Taiwan has built a strong foundation to protect the health and livelihoods of its people but that Taiwan’s future prosperity depends on strengthening resilience at home and maintaining strong links with the world, especially with Europeans and European businesses given that they have played a crucial role in Taiwan’s development and have the potential to help build additional resilience in a post-Covid-19 world.
About the ECCT
With over US$58 billion in direct foreign investments, European businesses are collectively the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan. The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan is the largest foreign nationwide business chamber in Taiwan and the principal organisation promoting European business interests in Taiwan. The chamber represents over 900 members from 400 companies and organisations. Through a network of 30 industry and support committees, the ECCT has been successful in addressing specific concerns and providing concrete recommendations to all levels of government to facilitate improving the business environment. The ECCT’s annual position papers comprise issues identified by its committees as hindering the further development of their respective industries and provide recommendations to the government of Taiwan for improvement of the business environment on general issues as well as industry-specific problems. They also serve to keep the European Commission and parliament as well as the governments of individual European countries informed about Taiwan’s business environment.
歐洲企業一直是臺灣最主要的外商投資來源，其直接投資規模超過500億美元。歐洲在臺商務協會 (歐洲商會) 的創建宗旨，在於促進歐洲企業在臺之利益。歐洲商會的會員約有900位，分別來自400家公司與機構。透過30個產業與特別委員會形成的關係網，歐洲商會已成功因應不同產業的特殊議題，為各級政府提供改善臺灣經商環境的具體建言。歐洲商會每年均提出一系列的建議書，內容涵蓋各委員會提出有礙自身產業進一步發展的議題，亦針對一般議題與各產業的特有問題，向臺灣政府提出多項改善經商環境的建言。建議書亦協助歐洲執行委員會、歐洲議會與歐盟各會員國政府瞭解臺灣的經商環境。