ECCT makes progress on issues raised in 2015 Position Papers
Taipei, 16 April – The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) announced today that it has made progress on 14 of the issues that were raised in its 2015 Position Papers. The announcement follows the chamber's meeting with the National Development Council (NDC) which was 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 was 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 Duh Tyzz-Jiun and followed by opening remarks from ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey. The rest of the meeting was chaired by NDC Deputy Minister Lin Huan. During the meeting, ECCT delegates discussed unresolved issues with government representatives. In many of the exchanges, Deputy Minister Lin insisted that officials provide good reasons why issues remain unresolved and, in cases where answers were not satisfactory, he asked officials to follow up after the meeting.
In his opening remarks, NDC Minister Duh thanked the ECCT for its long term support of the government's development strategies and the chamber's contribution to the improvement of the regulatory environment. He added that alignment with international standards is a priority for the government as it will help to advance Taiwan's integration with the international economy. In this regard, the NDC is committed to following up with and conducting research on issues regarded as important to business chambers. In his remarks Minister Duh also asked the ECCT for its continued support in advocating a free trade deal between Taiwan and the EU as a way to enhance trade and investment between the EU and Taiwan.
In his opening remarks, ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey reiterated the main theme and issues raised in the ECCT's 2015 Position Papers and emphasized that ECCT members are not just investors but also stakeholders in Taiwan's economy as tax payers and employers who generate wealth for the Taiwan economy. He made the point that a crucial factor for remaining competitive is adopting the best international standards and practices and that most of the recommendations in the position papers are aimed at making Taiwan more international and competitive for the benefit of ECCT members as well as the Taiwan economy and society. At the conclusion of the meeting Chairman Barkey said he appreciated the sincere attitude and constructive approach of the NDC in working to make concrete progress towards solving difficult issues. "The meeting was very fruitful and has clearly shown that the government is taking the issues of industry and consumers very seriously. By demonstrating support to resolve unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, the NDC is working hard to create a better business environment for companies while also bringing value to consumers. I would personally like to thank Deputy Minister Lin for his diligent way of chairing the meeting and we are looking forward to continuously working with the government to improve the regulatory environment in Taiwan as well as strengthen Taiwan's competitiveness. Given our excellent relations with the Taiwan government and the clear level of understanding we reached with officials on some technical issues raised at the meeting, I believe that we will be able to make even more progress on unresolved issues in the months ahead," he said.
At the meeting government officials undertook to take action on a number of 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
Asset Management Committee
Issue: Broadening the scope of products available to institutional investors
Progress made: The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has allowed Securities Investment Trust Enterprises (SITE) and Security Investment Consulting Enterprises (SICE) to provide sales and advisory service of unregistered offshore fund products to qualified investors in Taiwan.
Issue: CO2 emission standards for new vehicles
Progress made: The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has committed to holding discussion meetings with the industry with a view towards reaching consensus before officially announcing new CO2 emissions regulations and punitive measures. However, the Bureau of Energy and the EPA do not yet have a unified set of regulations and a single management system that is in line with European practices. A unified management system would remove legal ambiguity for regulators and make it easier for companies to comply.
Issue: Advanced vehicles and EV policy
Progress made: The government's efforts to establish electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure have produced some preliminary results. However, a comprehensive plan and standards to effectively promote the use of EVs and new energy vehicles are still not in place.
Issue: Expanding the Offshore Structured Product market in Taiwan
Progress made: The credit rating requirement for Offshore Structured Products (OSP) distributed to retail clients has been reduced to A+ (although the committee hopes the rating requirement can be further reduced to A-). Some banks are now qualified to issue such products. In addition, the Banking Bureau will discuss with the Taiwan Depository and Clearing Corporation and GreTai Securities Market ways to streamline the OSP reporting process.
Issue: Simplifying the regulation of data management systems
Progress made: The FSC has revised the Q&A of the "Regulations Governing Internal Operating Systems and Procedures for the Outsourcing of Financial Institution Operation" to help foreign banks to streamline operational processing and increase the operational efficiency of foreign banks in Taiwan.
Issue: Elimination of the pre-approval process for cosmetics advertisements
Progress made: In order to manage cosmetics advertisements more effectively and to follow the best international practices, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has drafted an amendment to the Statute for Control of Cosmetic Hygiene which would cancel the pre-approval process. The guidelines and other details are still under negotiation.
Electrical Engineering and Equipment (EEE) committee
Issue: Directive 401
Progress made: After years of continuous communication with relevant government and testing agencies, a consensus has been reached on the following issues: 1) Type test reports issued and conducted at a frequency of 50 Hz are applicable to 60 Hz; 2) The following Gas Insulated Switchgear test reports are accepted for power transmission approval: a complete set of factory test reports consisting of a) routine test reports issued by factories with IEC 17025 accreditation, and b) routine test reports from suppliers of the auxiliary parts.
Healthcare Enhancement committee
Issue: Organ donations
Progress made: The government has taken several measures to promote the concept of organ donations to the public. The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MoHW) conducted a poll re-evaluating the effectiveness of promoting policy and authorities have promised that they will put more focus on digital advertisements on the internet and increase the number of lectures in hospitals based on the budget provided.
Issue: Speeding up Offshore Insurance Unit related legislation and regulation
Progress made: Following the amendment of the Offshore Banking Act to allow the establishment of Offshore Insurance Units (OIU), the FSC now allows insurance companies which have a business presence in Taiwan to establish OIUs to provide offshore insurance policies to non-resident clients.
Luxury Goods committee
Issue: Promoting Taiwan as a luxury shopping destination
Progress made: The Tourism Bureau is planning to launch an advertising campaign to attract tourists from mainland China to shop in Taiwan. In addition, the Tourism Bureau will encourage luxury resorts in Taiwan to attract Chinese visitors by promoting shopping in Taiwan.
Medical Device committee
Issue: Legal Manufacturer
Progress made: The TFDA will allow companies to add the names of the legal manufacturer and actual contract manufactures on product licenses, thereby allowing the importation of products. While the TFDA will continue to review actual contractors, the purpose of these reviews is to ensure the safety of the finished products. Should there be cases of concern, the TFDA has opened a communication channel whereby companies can provide additional details in order to expedite the resolution of these cases.
Issue: Recognition of PIC/S
Progress made: The government has recognized PIC/S certification approvals granted by the TFDA, whether through a paper review or physical site inspection. The National Health Insurance Pharmaceutical Benefits and Reimbursement Schedule had also been revised in line with this revision of policy.
Retail & Distribution committee
Issue : Import ban on products from China
Progress made: The ban on the importation into Taiwan of one item from the Retail & Distribution committee's priority list of items manufactured in China has been lifted: Other ceramic sinks, wash basins, wash basin pedestals, baths, bidets, water closet pans, flushing cisterns, urinals and similar sanitary fixtures of porcelain or china (classified in division 691010.00).
Telecommunication, Media and Content committee
Issue: Realising the real potential of ICT technology
Progress made: In order to improve the digital content of scientific education, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has encouraged universities to provide courses open to the public. So far more than 800 relevant science courses have been made available on the Taiwan Open Courseware Consortium website for the public to access. Furthermore, the MoE has allocated funds to universities to introduce new scientific modules for students. Around 30 new science-related modules at different universities in Taiwan received funds for this purpose in 2014 and students can already enroll in these modules.
About the ECCT
With over US$33 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 principal organisation promoting European business interests in Taiwan. The chamber represents over 800 members from around 400 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.