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Premium Event with the Taoyuan City Government

On 28 January 2016 over 50 ECCT members and guests travelled to Taoyuan for a lunch meeting with Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan and senior officials from the Taoyuan City Government. The trip was arranged as part of the chamber's mission as a nationwide association to increase cooperation with municipal governments all across Taiwan. At the lunch the mayor gave a detailed presentation about Taoyuan City and his administration's development plans. He also answered questions from members about investment opportunities. After the presentation members enjoyed lunch and engaged freely with the mayor and officials, who were seated at different tables at the venue.

Taoyuan is one of Taiwan's most dynamic and prosperous metropolitan areas. As home to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA), Taoyuan is the gateway to Taiwan for 10 million foreign visitors every year. It is also the location of Taiwan's largest and most extensive industrial base covering multiple industries, which includes 29 industrial parks and numerous corporate headquarters.

Europeans are also considerable investors in Taoyuan. According to the mayor, in 2015 alone there were 275 investment cases totaling NT$33.665 billion in Taiwan by European firms, many of them in Taoyuan. According to Cheng, Taoyuan accounts for the highest industrial output among cities in Taiwan and more than half of Taiwan's listed companies have operations in the city. Unlike many other cities in Taiwan, Taoyuan's population has been steadily rising in recent years and exceeded 2.1 million in 2015. The workforce is well educated as there are 17 colleges or universities in the city and over 34% of the workforce has a college education.The mayor gave an update on the airport metro (MRT) line. At 51 kilometres long with 22 stations (including three planned stations for TTIA), it is Taiwan's longest and most complicated line that will go all the way from Taipei to Zhongli. It will serve as an express train between Taipei and TTIA for flight passengers and also provide a metro rail service for nine million people (if you include the populations in the greater Taipei, Xinbei and Taoyuan areas). The line is currently in the testing phase and will open later this year. According to Cheng, while there have been some suggestions to reduce the speed of the express service from Taipei Main Station (A1) to TTIA stations (A12-14), he still hopes the target of 35 minutes per trip can be met. Besides the airport MRT, the city is planning two other metro lines. One (the green line) has already passed the review stage while the second (the brown line is under review).

On the subject of the proposed aerotropolis project to extend and enhance the scope of TTIA's operations, the mayor said that allegations of impropriety during the initial stages of the project had necessitated a thorough and open review. Given that this is the largest ever national development project in Taiwan, which would double TTIA's current size, he argued that a review was essential to bring transparency, gather the opinions of all stakeholders and reach consensus on the project. For this reason his administration held 24 public hearings in 2015 and plans several more in the next two months. The mayor hopes to finish the public consultation process by April, after which Taoyuan authorities will draft and send proposals to the central government for review. According to the mayor, the extensive public consultation process has convinced him that the majority of Taoyuan residents support the aerotropolis project and he is confident that it will go ahead.

As part of the project, the Taoyuan and central government are jointly responsible for the planning and construction of TTIA's new terminals (T3 and T4) and the mayor said that his administration is working with the central government authorities and the Taoyuan International Airport Corporation (TIAC) to expedite the process. Besides these ongoing projects, future expansion plans for the aerotropolis include zones for residential, commercial and industry use. Besides aviation-related industries, the aerotropolis will also set aside areas for manufacturing and R&D, trade, logistics, innovation, leisure and other service industries (such as a cloud computing park).

Another major infrastructure initiative in Taoyuan is related to waste water treatment for both households and industry. Over the next five years the mayor aims to connect all areas of the city to waste water treatment facilities.
On the subject to environmental protection, the mayor said the city is cracking down on vehicles with high emissions and promoting electric vehicles (including electric scooters, bicycles and buses). He also wants to increase the use of renewable energy and promote smart infrastructure.

On the subject of public housing, the mayor said that 20,000 properties will be acquired for public housing in various ways, including government-led construction (using public land), private-sector projects (with government subsidies) and public-private partnerships.

The mayor touted his administration's friendly investment environment. To help investors the Taoyuan City Government established a single window Investment Service Center to facilitate processes for investors related to starting and running a business from land-use matching to building construction and even HR, operational and management support.