ECCT makes progress on issues raised in 2014 Position Papers
Taipei, 30 April – The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) has announced that it has made progress on 11 of the issues that were raised in its 2014 Position Papers. The announcement follows the chamber's meeting with the National Development Council (NDC) and attended by Taiwan's major government ministries and agencies to discuss the government's official reply to the business issues raised in the papers. The annual meeting brought together around 40 officials from a number of government ministries and agencies to discuss priority issues with co-chairs of the ECCT's industry and support committees. The meeting is the culmination of dozens of bilateral meetings held between the ECCT and various government agencies over the course of the past year. The meeting was formally opened by NDC Minister Kuan Chung-ming and followed by opening remarks from ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo. The rest of the meeting was chaired by NDC Deputy Minister Chen Chien-liang. During the meeting, delegates were given an update on the Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs), which was followed by a discussion of unresolved issues between ECCT committee and government representatives.
In his opening remarks, NDC Minister Kuan Chung-ming welcomed the ECCT delegation and thanked the chamber for its support over many years and for making recommendations on policies to improve Taiwan's regulatory environment. The minister said that the government's goal is to move further towards opening up its economy and harmonizing its regulatory environment with international standards. Kuan noted that the pace of economic integration in Asia is faster than the rest of the world. This is driving reform in regional economies and Taiwan is actively deregulating in response to this trend. He concluded his opening remarks by saying that the government is determined to continue along its current reform path.
In his opening remarks, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo thanked Minister Kuan and his colleagues for their diligent work and welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on how to improve the business environment in Taiwan for the benefit of ECCT members as well as the Taiwan economy and society. He reiterated the main theme and issues raised in the ECCT's 2014 Position Papers, emphasizing the point that the best regulations are sensible measures that protect the health, safety and welfare of people, provide a fair and level playing field for businesses to compete on while also allowing for technological advances and innovation. At the conclusion of the meeting, Izzo said, "The meeting was very friendly and productive. We made progress on several issues and were able to reach a clear understanding with government officials on the core problems that remain unresolved. I believe that, given our excellent relations with the Taiwan government, we will make even more progress on unresolved issues in the months ahead."
During the meeting, a representative from the NDC's Regulatory Reform Center gave delegates a presentation on the latest status and benefits of the planned Free Economic Pilot Zones. The FEPZs are envisioned to be trial zones for a free economy in Taiwan. All kinds of restrictions in the zones will be significantly eased and many incentives, including several tax incentives for companies and their employees, will be offered to those doing business in the zones. The Executive Yuan has submitted a bill governing FEPZs to the Legislative Yuan.
During the meeting, government officials undertook to take action on a number of issues. These included long-standing labelling problems faced by retailers, pension and ID number issues facing foreign residents in Taiwan and tax issues. On issues where progress was not made, government agencies agreed to re-evaluate some of their current positions and arrange follow-up meetings with the ECCT in the weeks ahead.
ECCT committees and issues where progress was made
Issue: Safety devices
Progress made: The government has indicated it would like to follow EU legislation to enhance road safety for motorcyclists and will invite industry representatives to discuss an implementation schedule in 2014.
Electrical Engineering and Equipment (EEE) committee
Issue: Directive 401
Progress made: Following an EU-Taiwan forum aimed at deepening mutual understanding on market supervision systems and IEC standards, progress has been made in the issue of routine test reports. If high-voltage electrical facilities at one factory receive type test reports approved by the Bureau of Energy, products manufactured in different factories operated by the same company should also be approved. At the meeting the Bureau of Energy (BoE) undertook to maintain smooth and open communications with the ECCT in future and expressed willingness to discuss technical details with experts through various means such as video conferencing to resolve issues.
Issue: CNS 3376 explosion proof certificate
Progress made: The main problems have been clarified and consensus has been reached between the government, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and industry to streamline application procedures for electrical equipment used in an explosive environment including simplifying following IEC standards to accept series type certification based on documents provided by applicants.
Issue: Enhancing electrical safety - Bringing CNS standards in line with IEC standards
Progress made: The BSMI is drafting standards for medium voltage panels according to IEC61439-1 and IEC 60364-1 standards.
Issue: PRC import ban
Progress made: The ban on the importation into Taiwan of two items from the EEE committee's priority list of items manufactured in China has been lifted (please refer to the appendix for details).
Issue: Expanding the scope of products and services available to qualified investors in Taiwan
Progress made: The Banking committee is highly encouraged by the government's policy to include the financial services industry in the Free Economic Pilot Zones and expand the business scope of offshore banking units (OBUs). The FSC issued letters earlier this year stating that OBUs will be exempted from regulations under the Trust Enterprise Act, Securities Investment Trust and Consulting Act and Futures Trading Act. This could spur the repatriation of capital that is currently offshore and is essential to enhance the onshore financial market and should boost growth in investment, job opportunities and the economy.
Better Living committee
Issue: Equality of treatment for foreign residents:
Progress made: The Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced that it will relax regulations governing the residence status of the adult children of foreign nationals (over the age of 20) who wish to live with their parents in Taiwan. Under the new rules, long-term residents of Taiwan will be allowed to extend their stays by up to six years (two three-year extensions).
Travel and Tourism committee
Issue: Upgrading airport services
Progress made: The Taoyuan Airport Corporation will interact with all related agencies to host meetings and improve communications with stakeholders in order to keep the airport running smoothly during the maintenance of the runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA), which began in 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2015.
Retail & Distribution committee
Issue: PRC import ban
Progress made: The ban on the importation into Taiwan of four items from the Retail & Distribution committee's priority list of items manufactured in China has been lifted (please refer to the appendix for details).
Product labeling issues: Sock labelling
Progress made: The Department of Commerce (DoC) formally amended regulations stipulating that retailers only have to label the outer packaging of socks sold in multi-packs. However, the responsibility for the labelling of individual pairs of socks when a multi-pack is split into individual pairs remains unclear. During the meeting, the NDC urged the DoC to refer to and adopt the best international practice in clarifying and resolving this issue.
Healthcare Enhancement committee
Issue: PRC import ban
Progress made: The ban on the importation into Taiwan of one item from the Healthcare Enhancement committee's priority list of items manufactured in China has been lifted (please refer to the appendix for details).
About the ECCT
With over US$32 billion in direct foreign investments, European business remains the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan. The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan is the only foreign nationwide business chamber in Taiwan and the principle organisation promoting European business interests in Taiwan. The chamber represents over 800 members from over 300 companies and organisations. Through a network of 28 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 annually publishes a series of position papers that 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, the European Parliament as well as the governments of individual European Union member states informed about Taiwan's business environment.
Progress on the PRC import ban
The import ban or restrictions on the following items as listed on the priority lists of the Retail & Distribution, Electrical Engineering and Equipment committees' 2014 position papers have been lifted:
Retail & Distribution
|Men's or boys' nightshirts and pyjamas, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibres
|Women's or girls' nightdresses and pyjamas, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibres
|Other garments, women's or girls', of cotton
|Other ceramic sinks, wash basins, wash basin pedestals, baths, bidets, water closet pans, flushing cisterns, urinals and similar sanitary fixtures (of porcelain or china are classified in division 691010.00)
Electrical Engineering and Equipment
|AC servo motors, single-phase, of an output not exceeding 3.75 kW
|Other apparatus for electric control or the distribution of electricity, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V
|Parts and accessories of other instruments and appliances, used in dental sciences