ECCT to strengthen European investment in Taiwan
The chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (ECCT) said on March 20 that the chamber will collaborate with the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) to promote European investment in Taiwan and steer a bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the EU.
When addressing officials from Taiwan's Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) in a meeting to exchange ideas on investing in Taiwan, Philippe Pellegrin made it clear that responding to the needs of foreign investors is the key to attracting more European money. At the meeting several local investment policies were brought to the table including a unified business window, a fair and consistent tariff policy on car imports, establishing an intellectual property court and offering tax incentives for foreign investors.
Pellegrin praised the government's commitment to these policies, some of which have already been exercised, noting that the friendly measures such as tax incentives have proved to be effective in attracting foreign investment. But he said that some of the most pressing issues, including a ban on certain imports from China and access to the government procurement market, are yet to be solved.
The ECCT emphasised that Taiwan needs to act fast to remain competitive with neighbouring markets, and said that adopting the position paper recommendations would help to make Taiwan more attractive as an international investment destination. In return the ECCT will push for a bilateral trade agreement between Taiwan and the EU by teaming up with the EETO to help solve issues regarding intellectual property, as well as animal and plant customs inspection, Pellegrin added. He said the ECCT is preparing an investment promotion conference that is scheduled to be held at the end of 2008.
CEPD Vice Chairman Thomas Yeh summed up a wish-list of European investors, which includes better cross-Taiwan Strait trade development, more tax incentives, advanced local service sectors and stricter intellectual property regulations. Reaffirming that Taiwan has an open and outward-looking investment policy, Yeh noted that some of the wishes -- such as expanding the range of permitted Chinese imports and relaxing restrictions on domestic investment in China -- involve political agendas. "Those politically sensitive policies need further evaluation before action can be taken," he said.
He noted the importance of face-to-face discussions with European investors in helping the government better understand those concerns, saying such direct communication can activate negotiation and spur remedies. He also said the council has been the coordinating window for local and foreign investors since 1997, adding that Taiwan has become more attractive to foreign investors. With US$22.3 billion in direct foreign investment, European businessmen remain the largest single group of foreign investors in Taiwan, according to the ECCT.
(Source: Central News Agency)