Launch of ECCT's 2024 Position Papers
At the event, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo presented an overview of the papers after which he officially handed over a copy of the chamber's annual publication to the Taiwan government, represented by National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin. The lunch was followed by a press conference, where the chairman, CEO and chairpersons of ECCT committees presented a summary of their most important issues to the media.
Through the theme "Setting a Course for Economic Revival," the papers offer specific recommendations to help revive the economy under current challenging global circumstances.
This year's publication includes separate submissions from 25 of the ECCT's industry and support committees and raises 175 issues, 108 from previous years and 67 new issues.
In his presentation to NDC Minister Kung and ECCT members at the launch, Chairman Izzo acknowledged the government's efforts that has led to progress on over 20%* of the issues raised the previous year. He went on to give a summary of the Position Paper Overview and highlight some of the major issues facing ECCT members.
Summary of the 2024 Position Paper Overview
Taiwan's economy is facing headwinds and choppy seas and the outlook for 2024 is uncertain. Under these circumstances, Taiwan needs to chart a course for economic revival that avoids the worst of the conditions that are beyond its control, remove regulatory constraints, revise unsuitable laws and regulations and streamline administrative procedures. The Overview highlights issues and recommendations in three main areas: energy, talent and internationalisation.
Choosing a smoother energy transition pathway
Taiwan boasts some of the world's best conditions for wind and solar energy but the key missing ingredient to a successful energy transition is an enabling environment.
Prioritising renewable energy capacity expansion: The installation of renewable energy capacity in Taiwan has fallen behind official targets mainly due to local content requirements, regulatory red-tape, and difficulties in financing. The chamber recommends revising localisation rules to encourage local supply chain competitiveness and much better coordination of policy and implementation between the various government agencies at the central and municipal level to expedite the development of all viable types of renewable energy. This should start with a radical streamlining of the permitting process, including establishing green zones for renewable development, simplified repowering rules to replace outdated turbines and comprehensive planning for port and grid infrastructure to support future projects.
Supporting the transition to electric mobility: To hasten the transition to electric mobility, the ECCT recommends removing regulatory bottlenecks that are slowing down the building of charging infrastructure as well as financial incentives to consumers to switch to electric vehicles (EVs).
Expanding the talent pool
Taiwan continues to face shortages of skilled and semi-skilled workers due to shifting demographics, overly restrictive labour, visa and work permit rules and insufficient incentives to attract foreign talent.
Promoting family friendly policies: To address Taiwan's shrinking birthrate, the chamber recommends measures to reduce the financial burden and improve the work-life balance of young parents, such as offering more flexible options for remote work, allowing employees to choose to work from home as an alternative to unpaid parental leave, and by building or subsidising the building of more childcare facilities.
Appropriate labour laws for the modern workforce: The chamber recommends reforms to outdated labour laws regarding working hours and attendance records and to accommodate the trend towards flexible working from anywhere.
More flexible visa and work permit regulations: The ECCT recommends revising visa and work permit regulations and procedures with the aim of making it easier for skilled foreigners to enter, live and work in Taiwan.
Fair treatment of foreign residents: The chamber advises addressing all issues of unequal treatment, especially for permanent residents, to make Taiwan more attractive to foreign talent as well as relaxing requirements to apply for dual nationality, making the point that offering citizenship status to a broader range of foreigners would increase Taiwan's attractiveness to foreign talent and help to alleviate Taiwan's population decline.
Adopting international standards: The position papers list a number of instances where Taiwan deviates from international standards and best practices. In each instance, the chamber advises that adopting the latest international standards would benefit businesses.
Increasing transparency: The papers list several cases where administrative requirements and procedures lack clarity or a clear purpose. For example, there are variations in the way draft regulations are announced, the length of review periods, the effective date of implementation and the length of grace periods. This could be avoided if authorities were to conduct regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) and hold consultations with stakeholders during the drafting process of regulations and to always follow standard implementation procedures. This would ensure that all legislation and regulations have a clear purpose and are expressed in clear and unambiguous language and are implemented without causing disruptions in the marketplace. In cases where regulations cause unforeseen negative consequences after the fact, the ECCT recommends that authorities make adjustments in a timely manner.
Expanding digitalisation: Despite steady progress towards digitalisation, there are still instances of procedures which require people to be present in person and submit documents in hard copy form. To improve efficiency in the use of both time and resources, the ECCT recommends that government agencies expedite efforts to enable digital options for administrative procedures wherever practical.
Improving bilingualism: The government has made progress in translating policies, legislation, regulations, rulings, or public announcements into English. However, this process is incomplete. Meanwhile, there is room for improvement in the level of English proficiency of government ministries and officials at all levels. This could be remedied by providing comprehensive English training to all government officials and by making English proficiency a key component in promotion criteria.
Pursuing international trade deals: The ECCT continues to support the government's efforts to pursue international trade agreements, such as an EU-Taiwan Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA), on the grounds that a BIA and ongoing efforts to address non-tariff barriers, would boost economic growth and create jobs in both Europe and Taiwan, and help to attract the talent and investment needed to maintain Taiwan's competitiveness despite challenging global circumstances.
With a diverse economy, deep talent pool and advantages in key technologies, Taiwan is well placed to deal with challenging headwinds in the global economy. However, there is more the government could do to help steer Taiwan in the right direction and to increase the resilience and agility needed to deal with adverse circumstances. Charting a course for economic revival will require setting the right policy priorities and making reforms and adjustments to policies.
The Overview concludes that following the recommendations in the position papers would help Taiwan to deal effectively with the current global economic challenges, advance the energy transition, enhance Taiwan's attractiveness to talent, increase Taiwan's internationalisation, strengthen resilience and speed up Taiwan's economic revival.
*This percentage also includes progress made during the position paper production process, which is not reflected in the position papers.