Launch of the 2020 Position Papers
The ECCT's 2020 Position Papers were officially released at a Premium Event lunch.
Read the 2020 Position Paper Press Release
A copy of the annual publication was officially handed over by ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo to the Taiwan government, represented by Chen Mei-lin, Minister of the National Development Council (NDC). The event was also attended by ECCT board directors, committee chairpersons, European trade office representatives and other ECCT members. A summary of the main theme and overview were presented at the event by the chairman. Following the lunch, the papers were released to the media at a press conference, which was attended by journalists from print, television and online media groups.
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 and points out that 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 while the ECCT's Better Living committee calls for removing the remaining instances of unequal and discriminatory treatment of foreign nationals.
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 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.
Capitalising on mobility opportunities: There are multiple golden opportunities in the transportation sector to improve the efficiency, quality and comfort of transport as well as ways to address climate change and 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.
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. Among other mitigation initiatives, the ECCT's healthcare and insurance committees recommend spreading the burden of healthcare costs by allowing co-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 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 recognised as multi-regional clinical trials (MRCT).
Capitalising on the food transition: 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.
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 non-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.
Conclusion: 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.