Government makes headway on AmCham white paper issues

More than one-third of the 80 issues contained in the 2016 Taiwan White Paper by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei have been resolved and the government will continue working with related agencies in addressing the remainder, according to the National Development Council June 8.

Among the actions taken, legislation facilitating reconstruction of outdated and dangerous buildings in urban areas was promulgated in May, while amendments to the Urban Renewal Act will be forwarded to the Legislature for fast-tracked review once greenlighted by the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of the Interior said.

The NDC and MOI remarks follow the release earlier the same day of the 2017 Taiwan White Paper by AmCham Taipei. In its annual position paper, the U.S. business organization said although none of the 80 issues from the previous edition had been totally resolved, significant progress had occurred over the past year.

AmCham Taipei commended the government for improving regulatory coherence by adopting a 60-day notice for stakeholders to respond to prospective changes, adding that the move is a major advance in transparency that will lead to high-quality regulations.

President Tsai Ing-wen's five-plus-two innovative industries initiative was also welcomed by AmCham Taipei, which described it as integral to creating investment opportunities and boosting the local economy. But this was tempered by a reminder that developing a culture capable of fostering creative approaches to problem-solving should be emphasized alongside building facilities infrastructure and other hardware.

AmCham Taipei also raised concerns about the impact of recent amendments to the Labor Standards Act, suggesting that the changes could stifle initiative and hamstring the government's drive to foster the emergence of an innovation-driven economy.

Challenges stemming from the government's policy of eliminating nuclear power by 2025 while dramatically slashing carbon emissions were also highlighted by AmCham Taipei. An energy policy should be clear, realistic and capable of delivering sufficient, reliable and cost-effective energy for high-tech industries and the prosperity of the people, AmCham Taipei added.

Of the 83 items identified by AmCham Taipei as requiring consideration, 12 were singled out as in need of special attention. These include regulatory easing on asset management, intellectual property rights, banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, and travel and tourism.

Concerning Taiwan-U.S. trade relations, AmCham Taipei recommended the two sides open negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement so as to enhance mutual exchanges and deliver win-win benefits. If Taiwan can incorporate international standards and practices into its trade policies, it will make a highly suitable negotiating partner for the U.S., AmCham Taipei added.

Established in 1951, AmCham Taipei is a nonprofit, nonpartisan business organization dedicated to promoting the interests of American and international businesses in Taiwan. It has published the Taiwan White Paper annually since 1996 to provide suggestions on how to strengthen the local business climate.

Source: Taiwan Today