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Premier briefs president on free economic pilot zone, wins approval
Central News Agency
2013-12-15 11:00 PM
Taipei, Dec. 15 (CNA) Premier Jiang Yi-huah on Sunday laid out the final plans for a free economic pilot zone, adding education innovation to the list of highlighted sectors and providing incentives to potential investors and foreign professionals. The plan, as amended, also offers tax relief to foreign and Chinese professionals working in the zone, including taxing only half of their incomes in the first three years. Unlike in the past, these professionals won't have to declare their earnings made outside of Taiwan for tax purposes. Currently foreign nationals have to declare their combined income and start paying tax if they earn more than NT$6.7 million (US$220,000). If they make an investment in the zone and pour their overseas earnings into operations in the zone, Taiwanese businessmen currently operating overseas will be exempt from business income tax. Foreign companies engaged in warehousing or basic reprocessing can enjoy tax free treatment if all goods are exported. If they sell products in Taiwan, 10 percent of their earnings will be exempt from business income tax. Both measures are good for three years. Under the newly added part of the plan on education innovation, universities or colleges of an experimental nature can be set up by domestic or foreign entities without the current constraints on enrollment, curriculum and finances, etc. in an effort to promote the internationalization of Taiwan's high education. Until now, the plan for a free economic pilot zone consists of four highlighted sectors: smart distribution, international health care, value-added agriculture and financial services. The revised plan will significantly liberalize the flow of talent, goods and capital, according to the Council for Economic Planning and Development. The pilot zone consists of Taiwan's six major seaports, Taoyuan International Airport and Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. Jiang led other ministers in briefing President Ma Ying-jeou on the administration's most important economic plan and the president gave his full support and asked the Executive Yuan to approve the plan later this month, officials said. The plan will then be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for approval, which officials hope will happen early next year. According to estimates by the Executive Yuan, the pilot zone can lead to an increase of NT$21 billion in private investment in 2014, creating 13,000 new jobs. After the first phase was inaugurated in August 2013, eight companies have set up shop in the pilot zone with a total investment of NT$600 million. (By Yang Shu-ming, Tang Pei-chun and Jay Chen)
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