Premier, officials meet with local leaders of industry and commerce

  • Date: 2019-05-21
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Su Tseng-chang and Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai on Tuesday led a group of government ministers and agency heads to meet with Chairman Lin Por-fong of Taiwan’s Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (CNAIC) and a delegation of 31 other business leaders to discuss the issues confronting industry in Taiwan, and the urgent need for the government to devise effective plans to help surmount these challenges. The ultimate goal, of course, is to build the ideal stage for Taiwan’s business community to continue its world-class performance.

Expressing his sincere thanks for the many long years that the leaders of private enterprise have operated tirelessly and helped build the nation, Premier Su began with a frank acknowledgement of industry concerns over the ability of Taiwan to reliably meet demand for electricity. The premier said that 2018 was a record-breaking year for power consumption, with manufacturers and other business drawing a total of 155.6 billion kilowatt-hours. With this new high, however, the government’s focus over the past few years to develop renewable sources as a higher percentage of overall generating capacity is beginning to pay off. In fact, work on Taiwan’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm began just last week.

Furthermore, thanks to ongoing upgrades and new construction at power plants in Linkou, Dalin and Tongxiao, reserve margins and operating reserves are expected to reach 15 and 10 percent, respectively, in 2019 and 2020. This new capacity should be sufficient to not only meet demand from existing industry, said Premier Su, but also cover the needs of overseas Taiwanese businesses now returning to Taiwan to re-establish and expand local operations.

Meeting attendees raised concerns over double taxation with the assessment of both the stamp tax and business tax, and suggested cancellation. Premier Su instructed the Ministry of Finance to review whether in fact the current system is falling behind the times. If the government is on a solid financial footing and is able to maintain fiscal discipline, said the premier, then cutting taxes could be considered. With respect to the stamp tax—as a source of local government revenue—any move toward cancellation would require considering a source of replacement funding.

The CNAIC delegation also recommended that the government loosen residency restrictions on overseas Taiwanese, as well as other non-citizens, who come to Taiwan for an education. Premier Su instructed the Ministry of Labor (MOL) to review the current “points system” for assessing outstanding overseas Taiwanese who could be allowed to stay and contribute to Taiwan following graduation. The premier also said that to demonstrate that Taiwan is an efficient and welcoming nation, the MOL and Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be tasked with reviewing the application process for similarly talented foreigners to ensure greater convenience.

A number of other issues were raised by the CNAIC, including the suggestion that tax credits for personnel training be included in the Statute for Industrial Innovation, and the threat posed to local businesses by foreign e-commerce firms selling products into Taiwan. Premier Su said that when reviewing recommendations from industry, the top priorities for government financial agencies are to engineer investment incentives and create jobs. The government will also consider industry input in developing policy, and maintain a high degree of transparency in its approach.