Saturday, February 24, 2007

Name Changes and the State Department

Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the head of the US-Taiwan Business Council, points out on one of the Taiwan email lists:

For almost 25 years the US-Taiwan Business Council was known by the name USA-ROC Economic Council. It was created in 1976 at a time when the name was deemed appropriate in representation of the US based business community. We had a sister organization named the ROC-USA Economic Council.

By the late 1990s it became clear that the acronym ROC was becoming an increasing barrier in the business community to recognizing the role of the Council – business executives and others would ask, what's ROC? This was particularly true in the booming technology sector, which represented a huge new opportunity for the Council to grow but new little of the subtleties of Taiwan politics. As with all things related to business - brand name matters indeed, it is central to the success of any endeavor.

After a period of consultation with our membership we agreed that our name needed to change. We recognized that the KMT, still in power in the late 1990s, was unlikely to feel comfortable with the decision to change immediately to Taiwan (it was ours to make but please be conscious of the fact that our relationship with Taiwan's government, Blue or Green, is essential to our success) so we took an incremental approach.

We changed our name to USA-ROC (Taiwan) Business Council. We kept that name for 2 years and then removed the ROC and parenthesis giving us our present name. It worked well and leaves us appropriately branded in today's globalized business environment.

Incredibly, when the Business Council changed its name, the earth continued to spin on its axis, and the State Department did not feel it necessary to convene a press conference to condemn them for changing the status quo. Note also the justification -- in today's globalized business world it is necessary to differentiate the PRC and Taiwan. The DPP has pointed that out too....

Think its time for apologies to be issued from the State Department

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