DPP proposes amendments in FEPZ bill for discussion next week
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-07-31 06:17 PM
With the bill setting up Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) on the agenda for review next week in the Second Special Session of Legislative Yuan, the DPP has announced some of the things it would like to see amended in the bill. Party chair Tsai Ing-wen called Thursday for the deletion of seven provisions in a number of areas including surroundings, taxes, imports of agricultural and industrial products and other matters.

Tsai pointed out that the ruling party’s penchant for conducting “black box’ methods of negotiation and development means the DPP must be extremely careful and institute rigorous reviews and checks of the FEPZ bill. She said a wide range of additions, deletions and amendments need to be made in order to assure that the bill will be valid and workable and suited to its purposes.

The suggestions made by the DPP fall roughly into two main categories including the development of a systematic and complete infrastructure for the FEPZs and a number of regulations which need to be deleted

Changes in the area of infrastructure cover requiring the government to carry out comprehensive planning and impact assessments and demanding that the government present concrete plans and blueprints for industrial development before entering into any regional or integrated agreements on behalf of the entire nation. In addition, the authority of competent government organs should be limited in order to avoid over-regulation and unclear delineation of responsibilities regarding industries in the FEPZs. Priority for businesses in the park should be given to those in already existing industries in order to avoid the dangers of under-utilization or over-exploitation of an area’s resources.

The second category of suggestions relates to measures designed to prevent undesired actions such as speculation by large conglomerates, operations that could damage the environment and limits on businesses which might attempt to bring in large numbers of white-collar workers. It also proposes limits on agricultural imports and specifies standards for medical care, education and other aspects of professionals who will be working in the zones.

Part one: Proposed adjustments:

1. Provide a balance between integrated participation in international economic and trade groups and the social impact of such moves. The Executive Yuan should carry out studies assessing the social costs of greater participation in international trade and economic activities once every two years and report them to the Legislative Yuan for review.

2. The locations of FEPZs should be compatible with the regulations followed in industrial development programs supported by various organs in the Executive Yuan and be in line with proposed plans and strategies for industrial development.

3. The governing authority for FEPZs should be the National Development Council.

4. The number of government offices with management rights over FEPZs should be limited.

5. The locations of FEPZs should take into account already existing institution s such as free trade zones; agricultural, science and technology parks; export processing zones, industrial parks and the like as well as areas which have been set aside designated for certain uses by local governments.

6. First-class FEPZs will be designated on the basis of their contribution to economic development and their impact on employment as well as their impact on related industries and their ability to fit into their surrounding communities.

7. Second-class FEPZs will be limited to businesses in the financial services industry.

Recommended deletions include certain regulations on the location of FEPZs to ensure that land speculation and harm to the environment will be avoided, the removal of certain tax incentives for investment purposes such as the waiving of the 10% business tax on domestic sales and the waiving of half of the salary and business income taxes during the first three years of an employee’s service in Taiwan. Other deletions cover the opening up of FEPZs to international medical institutions, educational services and professional services (accountants, lawyers, architects. etc.) and the elimination of “black box” provisions regarding trade to ensure that currently prohibited agricultural and industrial products are not allowed in.

In addition, regulations must clearly specify the rights and limitations of Chinese groups or institutions investing in Taiwan so they are consistent with those in effect outside of FEPZs.

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