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Window on the ATBC


In these final days of 2017, the members and friends of the Australia-Taiwan Business Council (ATBC) and others who care about Australia’s relations with Taiwan have reason to be happy with our progress and achievements over the year.

As CEO of the ATBC, I’m delighted that we have become even more effective and even better organised — and that our reputation with business and political leaders of the two countries is better than ever.

The strong financial sponsorship and in-kind support given to us by member companies, the Australian Trade Commission and others organisations is, I think, a proof that we are doing really valuable work for our members but also very significantly supplementing the efforts of our governments to improve business and other relations between the two countries.


In September, Mr John Toigo, ClarkeKann Lawyers, became the eighth Chairman of the ATBC. John is a member of many years standing and has been a Vice Chairman since 2015. John’s firm is closely involved with much of the very substantial Taiwan investment in the Australian resources sector, which means that John has valuable perspectives and much influence on a great deal of bilateral trade and investment.

Mr Mark Dorney, CITIC CLSA, continues as Vice Chairman of the ATBC. Mark is a leading banker who, more than a decade ago, was the first to close a billion dollar Australian investment in Taiwan. He is a long-term member of the ATBC and a great contributor, of ideas, introductions and initiatives. He will help smooth the transition to the new phase of our growth under Chairman Toigo.

Our counterpart organisation, the ROC-Australia Business Council, also has a new chair, Mr Wei-Fuu Yang, Chairman of the Taiwan Power Corporation. Our board looks forward to working with him and his team in 2018.

The new Representative at the Australian Office, Taipei, Mr Gary Cowan, a senior diplomat with excellent qualifications, will take up his post and lead the strong team of Australian officials in Taiwan early January 2018.

Newcastle and the Hunter


The highlight, of course, was the 31st Joint Conference, held in September at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle. The theme of the Conference, ‘Australia and Taiwan — Energetic Partnerships’ said it all; there was an optimism, energy and vibrancy about all of our 2017 events gives cause for optimism.

A lot of business was done at the Conference. In addition, the event helped company and government leaders from Taiwan better understand the strengths and potential of Newcastle and the Hunter. The ATBC now has many new and influential friends in Newcastle, with whom we are working on practical steps to sustain the business momentum generated by the Conference. More about that in my next “Window on the ATBC”.

Thanks to Macquarie Group, for hosting the 2017 Annual General Meeting and AGM Boardroom Luncheon at its Sydney head office, each year for the past fifteen years one of the most popular ATBC events.

In Melbourne, among other activities, in April I represented the ATBC at the 23rd Congress of the World Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce. More than 700 Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce members from around the world — as well as many VIPs from Taiwan and Australia — attended this special occasion on 8th April.

In Canberra, we had many useful discussions with ministers and officials. In 10th August, an ATBC delegation led by then Chairman Ross Maddock, saw the Hon Steve Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, making a strong case for the commencement of negotiations with Taiwan for an ‘economic cooperation arrangement’, in other circumstances called an FTA. My particular thanks go to Mr Alan Oxley, one of our Melbourne-based members, ITS Global Asia Pacific, for helping prepare the case and doing most of the work in explaining it to the minister. I was pleased to hear Minister Ciobo say in response that our presentation was one of the most original and enterprising he’d received as Minister for Trade.

We won’t give up on the FTA issue, we’ll continue to put the case to our government, wherever possible with support from allies such as MLA and Dairy Australia.

Taishin Bank International Bank, Brisbane Branch officially opened on 1st November by the Group Chairman Mr Thomas Wu amongst more than 300 guests to mark this special occasion. Chairman Toigo and Chairman Emeritus Maddock, ATBC Brisbane based National Committee members Mr Anthony Lin, Ms Alice Tsou and I were honoured to take part.


In 17th October, Chairman Toigo and I represented the ATBC at the ‘bilateral economic consultations’, BEC, the highest level annual policy discussions between the two governments. We focussed on the case for an FTA and ATBC suggestions for boosting tourism between the two countries. Thanks again to National Committee member Mr Anthony Lin, Goodman Lawyers, for drafting the tourism section. Copies of our presentation are available to members, on request.

During the year, board members and I met many other ministers, officials, business leaders and eminent scholars, promoting the interests of ATBC members and more generally of Australia.

The ATBC has unrivalled access in Taiwan, the result of thirty-five years of patient effort. It is perhaps our most valuable asset. It’s one of the often underestimated and certainly under-priced benefits of ATBC membership.


I began by saying that we should be happy with our progress and achievements in 2017. A large number of people contributed.

Ambassador Elliott Charng, Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices in Australia (TECO), deserves to be mentioned first, not just for the excellent advice he gave to me and members of the board and the strong support his government extended to the ATBC, but also for the outstanding work he is doing to strengthen and deepen the relations between Australia and Taiwan. We really appreciate his warm enthusiasm, gentle humour and good judgement.

Ambassador Charng is of course the leader of a team, all of whom in one way or another help the ATBC. The Directors of the TECO offices at Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne each deserve our particular thanks, as does Mr Frank Lu, the Executive Director of the Economic Division in Canberra.

Australia’s Representative at the Australian Office, Taipei, Ms Cathy Raper, whose term has come to an end, deserves thanks and praise from ATBC. She has been generous with her time and in many other ways. I shall always remember her support for our work and her many courtesies to me. We wish her all the best for her next assignment, commencing early January in Canberra.

It has also been a great pleasure and privilege to work with Ms Eliza Chui and the team of very capable people at Austrade Taipei. The ATBC acknowledges Austrade’s continuing support as our National Partner and Eliza’s key role in making the Partnership effective.

Concerning the National Partnership with Austrade, may I acknowledge Mr Bruce Gosper’s role in establishing it, Mr David Lander’s and Mr Michael Clifton’s role in fostering it and Dr Stephanie Fahey, appointed earlier this year as Austrade’s CEO, for her careful attention to it when we presented the case for its continuation.

Many of our members who are Taiwanese by birth have been of great help to me and the board. I must mention first Mr Jason Lin, MIT Chartering, who served on our National Committee for several years and who has recently finished a highly successful term as President of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce. Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ying-wen, recently honoured Jason with an appointment as National Policy Adviser. Well done Jason!

Dr David Chiu, AUSPAC Group, who has served on the National Committee for more than three decades, supports the board and me from Taipei, where is now based. Thank you David for your many years of dedicated service.

In Taiwan, I must also acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by the ROCABC’s Immediate Past Chairman, Dr Wen-Chen Chu, who recently retired as Chairman of Taiwan Power.

Mr Henry Kao, a former Vice Chairman of the ROCABC and current Chairman of CIECA and I Mei Foods, is also one of the ATBC’s best friends in Taiwan. Thank you Henry for all you’ve done for us -as well as for leading a great team at ROCABC-CIECA.

In October the board arranged for four of the former chairs of the ATBC to meet over dinner, to acknowledge their contributions and seek their counsel about preparing for the challenges ahead. Mr Jack Cowin (Competitive Foods), Mr Maurice L Newman AC, the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC and Mr Ross Maddock, each led our organisation with vision and passion. I am indebted to each of them, for good advice, encouragement and support.

Last but certainly not least, John Kean OAM is my pick for ATBC hero of 2017. John has been a member for longer than he cares to remember. He served as Hon Treasurer for about two decades, turning around our fortunes — and for a couple of years as one of our most effective Vice Chairmen. At the 31st Joint Conference, we presented him with the inaugural ‘Yu Shan Award’ for Towering Contributions to the ATBC.

I would like to thank for all our 2017 sponsors and supporters and specially the sponsors at the 31st Joint Conference. Your continuing support would be most appreciated.

I look forward to working with Chairman Toigo and Vice Chairman Dorney, the National Committee and all members in 2018.

Finally, I wish all our members and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Welcome Taishin International Bank, Brisbane Branch to membership of the ATBC and we look forward to working with you in 2018.


I am planning new and exciting ways to provide our members with more benefits and even better value for the modest ATBC annual subscription. We will have events in Taiwan as well in Australia.

Please pencil in your dairy the 32nd Joint Conference of ATBC and ROCABC, to be held in Taiwan around first half of September 2018.

There are more improvements to come, so please stay tuned.

Warm Regards,

Ching-Mei Tuan


18 December 2017