Major Milestone: 60th Anniversary
December 19, 2011, 2:24 pm TWN
The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei marked a major milestone in 2011 when it commemorated the passage of 60 years since its founding – a particularly significant span of time on the Chinese calendar. Although celebratory events were held throughout the year under the slogan of "60 Years of Partnership," the most festive occasion was a gala reception on September 14 at the Taipei Guest House, the historic building in downtown Taipei that was the official residence of the Japanese Governor-General during colonial times.
Co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China, the event drew nearly 400 AmCham members and guests, including high-level government officials. In his congratulatory remarks, President Ma Ying-jeou thanked the Chamber for its support to Taiwan over the years, especially its role in 1979 in shaping the Taiwan Relations Act passed by Congress after the break in formal diplomatic ties between the United States and Taiwan.
A speech by Foreign Minister Timothy Yang emphasized the important part AmCham has played in Taiwan's national development. He noted that in the early years of Taiwan's economic development, AmCham's member companies were a "source of precious capital and technology, as well as training and job opportunities." Minister Yang added that "in its annual White Paper, AmCham has constantly provided many valuable suggestions for enhancing Taiwan's global competitiveness."
Also in attendance were visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Suresh Kumar, Secretary General of Taiwan's National Security Council Victor Hu, four Cabinet ministers, and eight former AmCham chairman now living abroad who returned specifically for the occasion. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Robert D. Hormats delivered a message by means of videotape.
Among the other Anniversary-related programs were a golf tournament in June, a special issue of Taiwan Business TOPICS magazine and slide-show presentation in September, a family-oriented bicycle ride and barbecue in October, and a month-long photo exhibition during November. The Anniversary activities added to the energy level for the year, but the Chamber's regular annual signature events were also highly successful. The Hsieh Nien Fan banquet in March, held to thank government officials and local business leaders for their cooperation during the previous year, attracted some 620 attendees. The American Ball, held jointly with the American Institute in Taiwan in November, this year took the theme of "Sixty Years of Fun!" and lived up to the event's reputation as the social highlight of the year for the expat community in Taipei.
This year's Annual General Meeting in November drew a record number of participants, as it featured separate appearances by the presidential candidates of the two major political parties – incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang and chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party. Both made presentations about their views on Taiwan's future development and answered questions from the floor.