[Press Releases] ECCT 2020 Position Papers Launch
歐洲商會2020建議書主題 - 台灣經濟逆轉勝：動盪世局，抓住機運
概論中強調，我們乃處在一個動盪VUCA的時代 ─ 即充滿激盪(V)、不確定(U)、複雜(C)與模糊(A)的時代。世界各國政府、企業與民眾正面對多重挑戰 ─ 包括地緣衝突、環境及經濟。與此同時，社會趨勢與科技進步卻也出現多項難得的新機遇。
此外，應增加對電網基礎設施的公共投資，容納再生能源能量，並調整台灣電力公司與風電開發業者之間的標準化購電協議 (PPA) ，以及風電開發業者與經濟部之間的「管理合約」，在台電公司未能如期完成電網連結時，所造成的電力減購，當對風能開發商給予補償。
此外，該會健康照護與保險兩個委員會建議，台灣政府允許更多藥品及服務能適用共同負擔 (自付額) ，並鼓勵更多型態的民間醫療保險產品，分散健保成本負擔。在年金改革方面，資產管理委員會則建議，主管機關參卓其他國家的成功範例，鼓勵本地居民在自己的所得中，撥出更多錢來作為年金，並對勞工提供更多樣的年金計畫。
落實數位化、人工智慧、物聯網、5G及其他創新領域的諸多機遇：數位化、物聯網 (IOT) 及人工智慧 (AI) 對台灣而言，這些挑戰既是潛在的威脅，同時也可能是機遇。該會銀行與科技委員會建議，台灣政府制定更有彈性的法規，刺激金融科技 (FinTech) 的發展，例如採用類似於歐盟第2號支付服務指令（PSD2）的作法，開放支付服務，並開發出一套既安全且開放的應用程式介面（API）與資料庫。通訊、媒體與內容委員會建議法規應更明確，支持5G發展，包括降低使用費率，降低5G頻率底價，延長5G設備的租稅抵減期限。
製藥委員會倡議台灣政府採取更多行動，以提高台灣被承認為多區域臨床試驗 (MRCT) 的機會，包括當實驗申請者已符合特定門檻時，得以豁免製售證明等各項法規要求，並縮短食品藥物管理局 (FDA) 對新藥申請的平均審核時間等。
歐洲企業一直是台灣最主要的外商投資來源，其直接投資規模超過550億美元。歐洲在台商務協會 (歐洲商會) 的創建宗旨，在於促進歐洲企業在台之利益。歐洲商會的會員約有900位，分別來自400家公司與機構。透過30個產業與特別委員會形成的關係網，歐洲商會已成功因應不同產業的特殊議題，為各級政府提供改善台灣經商環境的具體建言。歐洲商會每年均提出一系列的建議書，內容涵蓋各委員會提出有礙自身產業進一步發展的議題，亦針對一般議題與各產業的特有問題，向台灣政府提出多項改善經商環境的建言。建議書亦協助歐洲執行委員會、歐洲議會與歐盟各會員國政府瞭解台灣的經商環境。
2020 ECCT POSITION PAPERS – “TIPPING THE SCALE IN TAIWAN'S FAVOUR : CAPITALISING ON OPPORTUNITIES”
The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) today released its 2020 Position Papers. Through the theme “Tipping the Scale in Taiwan's Favour : Capitalising on Opportunities”, the ECCT called upon the government to work together with the ECCT to overcome the challenges that are weighing down Taiwan's chances for progress and fully capitalise on the numerous economic opportunities of the modern era. “As long as the scale is tipped decisively in favour of the opportunities, Taiwan's future prosperity will be assured,” said ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo at the launch of the papers.
The launch was held at an ECCT Premium Event lunch today, where Chairman Izzo officially handed over a copy of the chamber’s annual publication to the Taiwan government, represented by Chen Mei-ling, Minister of the National Development Council (NDC). This year's publication includes separate submissions from 25 of the ECCT's 30 industry and support committees and raises 148 issues, 100 from previous years and 48 new issues.
In his presentation to NDC Minister Chen and ECCT members at the launch, Chairman Izzo congratulated the government on making progress 32 issues from the previous year, the highest level of progress in five years. He went on to give a summary of the Position Paper Overview and highlight some of the major issues facing ECCT members.
Summary of 2020 Position Paper Overview
The overview notes that we are living in VUCA times – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Governments, businesses and citizens the world over are facing multiple challenges - geopolitical, environmental and economic. At the same time, social trends and advances in technology are opening up multiple new golden opportunities. Dealing with the multiple demands of the VUCA world is already a heavy burden for corporations. Having to do so in an unfavourable regulatory environment further hampers their business operations and Taiwan's economic development. Conversely, the best approach to achieve lasting economic success is for all stakeholders to align their strategies and actions to overcome the threats and capitalise on the opportunities. The overview goes on to give a summary of actions the government could take to help all stakeholders to overcome the challenges, capitalise on the opportunities and tip the scale in Taiwan's favour.
Aligning with international standards and best practices
ECCT members from a number of committees list issues in their papers where Taiwan authorities have deviated from international standards and best practices. For example, several of Taiwan's standards are not aligned with international standards, which is hampering the ability of the Electrical Engineering and Equipment industry to upgrade to products and services that are safer and of a higher quality. Moreover, there remain instances of a lack of transparency as well as inconsistencies in the implementation of regulations and procedures, which are hampering the development of several industries. For example,different government agencies impose different levels of commodity taxes on products and have inconsistent product labelling requirements. In addition, both the agro-chemical and retail industry have reported retroactive implementation of new regulations on previously-approved products. This should only be justified if they pose health or safety hazards. Otherwise there should be a sufficient grace period for the implementation of new regulations. In summary, aligning with international standards and best practices would level the playing field for foreign companies and help make local companies more competitive in the international market, thereby making it much easier for all stakeholders to capitalise on opportunities.
Addressing the skills and labour shortage
The shortage of both skilled and unskilled workers is weighing down Taiwan's ability to capitalise on economic opportunities. To address this, the ECCT's Human Resources (HR) committee has recommended further labour law reforms to develop, attract and retain talent. Among other measures, the committee recommends, further flexibility in Taiwan's rules on working hours. In particular, the wind energy sector needs to be added to the list of industries exempt from the weekly regular leave day requirements so that businesses in the sector may arrange workers’ calendars to make them suitable for offshore construction work. The HR committee also calls for looser visa requirements for foreign professionals, allowing more foreign labor in the service sector and better protection for foreign laborer. Meanwhile the ECCT's Better Living committee calls for removing the remaining instances of unequal and discriminatory treatment of foreign nationals, which includes making a shift from the “national vs foreigner” mindset to a “tax resident vs non-tax resident” mindset when it comes to deciding who is eligible for government benefits. A first step towards resolving this issue would be for the government to implement an already-proposed and accepted solution to make the number format of Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC)identity cards compatible with those of ID numbers provided to ROC nationals. Doing so would allow foreigners to use the full range of public and private online services currently only available to ROC ID holders.
Speeding up the energy transition
The transition away from fossil fuel-generated energy to low and zero emissions alternatives is essential to address the threat of climate change. It also represents another golden opportunity for Taiwan given the island's perfect conditions for tapping into abundant renewable energy sources. The government, to its credit, has already acknowledged the multiple benefits of renewable energy and is embracing this trend. However, the ECCT's Wind Energy and Energy& Environment committees recommend further reform of energy policies, including a deregulation of the energy market, to permit and allow the implementation of multiple business models for the installation, sale and use of renewable energy.
In addition, the committees urge more public investment in grid infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy capacity and adjustments to the standard “Power Purchase Agreement” (PPA) between Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) and wind developers and “Administrative Contracts” between wind developers and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to deal with curtailments in the event of delays in ensuring grid connections. In addition, the Wind Energy committee calls for a loosening of localisationrequirements for its industry. The committee also urges the opening up of coastal areas, highways, railways, harbours and industrial parks for the installation of onshore wind turbines and new repowering rules to allow developers to replace old turbines with newer versions without having to repeat approval and permitting processes.
In its paper, the Electrical Engineering & Equipment committee calls on the government to develop a blueprint for building energy storage systems, which will be needed to act as a balancing tool to reduce the volatility of renewable energy.
Capitalising on mobility opportunities
here are multiple golden opportunities in the transportation sector for business to improve the efficiency, quality and comfort of transport as well as ways to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions and improving human health by reducing pollution. The ECCT's Mobility committee recommends developing a comprehensive plan, which includes attractive incentives, to build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network, clear and internationally-aligned standards for charging stations and consumer-friendly operating and billing systems for electric vehicle (EV) battery charging. It also recommends following the example of countries like Norway, which has achieved great success in increasing consumer adoption of EVs by offering subsidies and exempting EVs from commodity, luxury and other taxes to make them more affordable to end consumers.
Dealing with demographic changes
Taiwan has one of the world's lowest birth rates and most rapidly-ageing populations. There is no simple solution to this phenomenon, which is not unique to Taiwan. Besides healthcare, childcare and educational support policies to ease the financial burden on young women and their partners in order to encourage them to have children, authorities could also consider ways to encourage people to stay in the workforce longer. In addition, the ECCT's healthcare and insurance committees recommend spreading the burden of healthcare costs by allowing-payments for more drugs and devices and encouraging more types of private health insurance products. In terms of pension reform, the Asset Management committee recommends emulating examples from other countries that have been successful in encouraging residents to set aside larger portions of their incomes for their pensions and offer a greater variety of pension plans for employees.
Capitalising on digitalisation,AI,IoT, 5G and other innovations
Digitalisation, IoT and AI have the potential to be either threats or opportunities for Taiwan. The ECCT's Banking and Technology committees recommend more flexible regulations that would stimulate the development of Financial Technology (FinTech) such as liberalising payment services similar to the European Union's second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and developing a secure and open Application Programming Interface (API) and database. The Telecommunications, Media and Content committee recommends more regulatory clarity and support for 5G, including lower utilisation fees, a lower reserve price for 5G frequency and extended tax credits for 5G equipment. The Pharmaceutical committee advocates more action to improve the chances of clinical trials in Taiwan being recognized as multi-regional clinical trials (MRCT), including waiving regulatory requirements if trial applicants meet certain thresholds and reducing the Food and Drug Administration’s average review time for new drug applications.
Capitalising on the food transition
A profound shift is taking place in the global food industry, as consumers are increasingly demanding safe, high-quality food that is good for their health and does not harm the environment. The ECCT has welcomed the government's shift towards organic food through the Organic Agriculture Promotion Act, which came into force on 30 May 2019. However, more could be done to support local farmers in Taiwan to transition from conventional to organic farming practices through tax and other incentives. In addition, authorities should clarify rules, simplify the documentary requirements and facilitate the import process for organic products from the EU that are not available locally. On the issue of plastic waste, authorities should take a holistic approach that provides incentives that simultaneously aim to reduce waste and increase circularity by keeping plastic in the value chain through better management and increased recycling. To make better use of food waste, authorities could assist retailers by providing incentives to install food waste treatment equipment and drafting comprehensive plans for the distribution of the resulting organic compost to farmers.
Pursuing trade agreements
The ECCT continues to support the government's efforts to pursue international trade deals, especially an EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) and welcomes Taiwan's commitment to remain open and to seek further international cooperation. According to the chamber, implementing a BIA, which also addresses on-tariff barriers, would be good for economic growth and for creating jobs in both Europe and Taiwan and is another example of an opportunity that can be capitalised for the mutual benefit of Europe and Taiwan.
The overview concludes that the government has demonstrated a will to tackle difficult problems and made great progress in resolving difficult issues. However, there is more that authorities could do to overcome challenges. The ECCT therefore urges the government to continue to engage in constructive and comprehensive consultations with the ECCT and work together to capitalise on great economic opportunities available in the modern era for mutual economic and social prosperity and thereby tip the scale decisively in Taiwan's favour.
Open Door Mission to Brussels
Besides presenting the position papers to the Taiwan government, the ECCT will also use the papers as the basis for briefing the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council. To this end, an ECCT delegation comprising board directors, supervisors, committee chairpersons and staff will visit Brussels at the end of December for its annual “Open Door Mission”, a series of meetings aimed at providing European officials with a comprehensive update on the current political, investment and regulatory environment in Taiwan.
About the ECCT
With over US$55 billion in direct foreign investments, European businesses are collectively the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan. The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan is the largest foreign nationwide business chamber in Taiwan and the principal organisation promoting European business interests in Taiwan. The chamber represents over 900 members from 400 companies and organisations. Through a network of 30 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 and parliament as well as the governments of individual European countries informed about Taiwan's business environment.