A challenging but successful year
By H Henry Chang, Chairman, ECCT
2021 was a challenging year for the ECCT. This was mainly due to the five-month period of level 3 restrictions, which forced the postponement or cancellation of the Europe Day Dinner, the Gala Ball and several other events. However, we still managed to host some high profile activities in the first half of the year, and make up a little for lost time with a slew of events in the fourth quarter. More importantly, we continued to engage regularly with Taiwan ministries and government agencies throughout the year, helping to further promote members’ business interests while still managing to increase membership levels to a new record high of 990 individuals.
In terms of advocacy, the chamber saw continued progress on its issues. Of the issues raised in the 2020 Position Papers, 26 issues were either successfully resolved or saw progress towards resolution. We appreciate the endorsement by the Economic Daily and others for their confirmation of the quality and comprehensiveness of our position paper issues.
While the global coronavirus pandemic has severely disrupted the global economy, it has also provided golden opportunities for Taiwan to build upon its strengths, and to forge closer ties with its partners in the European business community. A clear demonstration of building on strengths is that European businesses have continued to invest in Taiwan throughout the pandemic, further increasing collective investments to over €53 billion in Taiwan.
Taiwan's past formula for success is its open society and integration with the world economy. We therefore continue to urge the government to adhere to this winning formula, especially during these uncertain times.
This past year has also seen a strengthening of the ECCT’s ties with the Taiwan business community through its Next Generation Business and Leaders Series, in which we arranged events with the YouTube Founder, the Regent Group, ASML and others.
Of the high profile events in 2021, we hosted the first ever Healthcare Forum, which was attended by Vice President Lai Ching-de, former Vice President Chen Chien-jen, and Health Minister Chen Shih-chung, as well as our second Electric Vehicle Forum and third Global Offshore Wind Energy Summit (with over 1,000 attendees). In addition, together with partners, the chamber launched three new reports on Eco-Mobility and Eco-Logistics, Circular Supply Chains and Digital Health.
The chamber also held a series of online meetings with officials from the European Commission in lieu of its annual Open Door Mission trip to Brussels. This included DG MOVE, DG ENERGY, DG TRADE, DG GROW, DG CONNECT and others.
European companies are also playing a critical role in developing talent for Taiwan’s future industries. This year, the ECCT is cooperating with National Taiwan University and the European Union Centre in Taiwan to educate students about European entrepreneurship. Country managers from our European companies will give a series of lectures as part of NTU's course “European Entrepreneurship and EU-Asian Relationships.” Thereafter, ECCT member companies will be offering internship opportunities for students enrolled in the course. Through such efforts we are helping to cultivate the next generation of professionals and corporate leaders, who will help to continue Taiwan’s robust economic and social progress here in Taiwan.
In all of the areas of economic and social life across multiple industry sectors, Taiwan’s goals and European expertise have never been more aligned. As Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) become more central to business, this provides an historic opportunity to draw us ever closer together based on mutual interests, reciprocity, and shared values. This moment in history is the time to move forward together, to build the ties that will last and bring peace and prosperity to our generation and that of our children's generation.