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Lunch with the Taichung City Government

On 26 August a delegation of around 30 ECCT members and guests led by Vice Chairman Giuseppe Izzo and CEO Freddie Hoglund travelled to Taichung for a Premium Event lunch with Mayor Lin Chia-lung and nine senior city government officials including Deputy Mayor Morgan Chang and director-generals from the city's major bureaus covering economic and industrial development, tourism and labour affairs. The event was part of the ECCT's ongoing programme as a nationwide association to actively engage in cooperation with municipal governments all across Taiwan.

The lunch featured a speech by Mayor Lin in which he highlighted some of the city's future plans as well as a more detailed presentation on the investment environment and future development projects by Dr Liu Yau-jr, director-general of the city's Economic Development Bureau. In his capacity as director of the ECCT's Low Carbon Initiative (LCI), Vice Chairman Izzo gave an introduction to the LCI while Bart Linssen, ECCT director and LCI member, briefed guests about the Wind Power Festival to be held on 14 September.

Taichung already has a very active Central Taiwan committee, which arranges regular networking events and outings and meetings with city government officials. For example, on 10 August, the committee held a productive roundtable lunch with the Taichung city's Bureau of Labour Affairs to discuss recent labour law changes.

In his speech Mayor Lin described Taichung as a dynamic city with great potential. He noted that the city's population grew by 20,000 last year, making it the fastest growing city in Taiwan, in contrast to most other cities where populations were stagnant or declining. With a population of 2.75 million people, an excellent infrastructure (high speed rail, harbour and airport), a business-friendly government, a thriving economy and a mild climate, Taichung offers great business opportunities. Taichung is home to the Central Taiwan Science Park and some of Taiwan's world-leading enterprises including bicycle manufacturer, Giant, electronic device lens manufacturer, Largan Precision, and machine tool maker Hiwin Technologies. Besides these established champions, the city is building three new industry parks and planning three others to focus on new industries such a robotics, intelligent machinery, aerospace and medicine. The city is also developing new conference and exhibition facilities.

In terms of transport infrastructure, the mayor said that the city has a comprehensive plan to upgrade the city's transport infrastructure. Taichung's airport had recently been upgraded to an international airport. In the near future the number of flights will be increased from 58 to 85 per day, which will help to boost trade and tourism in the city. The city's first metro rail line (MRT), the Wuri-Beitun line, is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2018 and opening by 2020. He also mentioned that many urban renewal projects were underway and that a new opera house had just opened.

In his presentation, Giuseppe Izzo gave an introduction to the LCI and then handed over to Bart Linssen, who spoke about the LCI's Wind Power Festival on 14 September. The objective of festival is to demonstrate the potential of wind energy. At the event a barbeque, powered by wind energy, will be held, electric vehicles and robots, which can be recharged on site will be demonstrated. Besides government officials, residents of the local community will be invited to see the benefits of renewable energy.

In his presentation Liu Yau-jr expanded points made by Mayor Lin on the advantages of investing and doing business in Taichung. He noted that Taichung's economy is very balanced. Besides industry, the city is also a popular tourist destination as well as important agricultural producer. On the subject of wind power, he said that the city is looking into constructing wind turbines in and around Taichung harbour while the area just off the coast of Taichung is one of the largest sites targeted for constructing offshore wind turbines. Besides transport infrastructure mentioned by the mayor, the city wants to improve facilities in Taichung harbour for cruise ships, which is another potential growth area for tourism. He concluded that Taichung has sufficient land, efficient administrative support, good transport infrastructure, highly skilled labour, sophisticated supply chains and offers a good quality of life to make it one of Taiwan's most attractive places to live and do business.