Visit to Premier Jiang yields progress
Taipei, 13 September – On 12 September, an ECCT delegation of committee chairpersons led by Chairman Giuseppe Izzo and CEO Freddie Hoeglund met with ROC Premier Dr Jiang Yi-huah and senior cabinet officials. During the meeting, delegates discussed priority business issues facing ECCT member companies. The meeting yielded progress on several important issues facing ECCT member companies.
In his opening remarks, Premier Jiang thanked the ECCT for its long-term support and contribution to Taiwan's economic development. He reiterated the Taiwan government's commitment to economic liberalization, citing recent progress including the signing of a Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand, a services agreement with mainland China and plans to set up Free Economic Pilot Zones. The premier also reiterated the government's support for a trade agreement with the European Union.
In his opening remarks, ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo updated the premier on the ECCT. He noted that the ECCT's membership continues to grow and now counts over 800 individual members from 400 companies and institutions. He informed the premier of the chamber's transition to a nation-wide association, with the aim of expanding business activities and presence across Taiwan. While the chamber represents the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan with over US$31 billion in investments in Taiwan, the chairman noted that Europeans have only invested US$300 million in Taiwan so far this year, compared to US$1.3 billion in 2012. "This slowdown is a clear indication that Taiwan needs to do more to attract investment. Taiwan's competitiveness has improved in recent years but Taiwan is still behind regional competitors", he said. To improve this, the ECCT's 2013 Position Papers raise 118 issues faced by ECCT members in 22 committees and make recommendations that the chamber believes will move Taiwan forward. Chairman Izzo then handed over to committee chairpersons to give details of priority issues, to which government officials responded.
Progress was made on the following issues:
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MoHW) assured the ECCT that Article 46 of the Second Generation National Health Insurance Act, which specifies the method of price adjustments for just off patent drugs, would not be applied to drugs with patents that expired before January 2013.
In addition, the MoHW acknowledged that the speed of approval for new drugs has slowed down considerably since the establishment of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Reimbursement Scheme (PBRS). The MoHW has therefore suggested that the National Health Insurance Administration increase the frequency of the PBRS committee's meetings from once every two months to once a month.
Telecommunications, Media & Content
To speed up the building of 4G networks, the National Communications Commission agreed to allow type approval of 4G product reviews to be conducted in parallel with the implementation of the regulatory framework. As soon as "Mobile Broadband Radio Base Station Technical Regulations" are announced, equipment suppliers will be allowed to begin sending in products for type approval while inspections by national security authorities will be done in parallel to minimize delays.
The premier also undertook to coordinate meetings with public institutions regarding locations for base stations to help the industry secure sites.
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) will welcome foreign financial institutions to operate in Taiwan's Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs). In this regard, authorities are reviewing draft measures governing how financial institutions can operate in the FEPZs.
The FSC is actively considering allowing Taiwanese companies that have invested in mainland China and mainland Chinese companies, which are listed in Hong Kong, Singapore or New York, to issue Formosa bonds in Taiwan's capital market. The drafting of new rules on the Issuance of Formosa Bonds will be done in coordination with the Mainland Affairs Council but will also require further consensus with mainland China's Banking Supervisory Commission.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare promised to find a compromise solution no later than October to establish a reasonable self-payment option for medical devices.