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Premier chairs meeting to discuss industry water, land needs


Premier Lai Ching-te today chaired a meeting to discuss improving the investment environment in Taiwan, in particular addressing industry requirements for guaranteed water supplies and adequate land as issues complicating potential investment. The meeting was a follow-up to two previous interministerial meetings, one on September 27 and the other on October 11, that the premier called specifically to develop plans for accelerating investment in Taiwan.

Following the meeting, the premier made a number of announcements:

I. Requirement for guaranteed water supplies: Rainfall in Taiwan is plentiful, but because of the island's geography, 82 percent of the water that falls as rain either flows directly to the ocean or is lost to evaporation, leaving only 18 percent for human use. The huge difference in rainfall between Taiwan's wet and dry seasons only adds to the importance of securing sources, preventing waste and adjusting use.

A. Developing new sources of water

1. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) was directed to convene as quickly as possible a meeting with other responsible ministries and agencies in order to inventory all water-related infrastructure and facilities.
2. The MOEA was also ordered to move quickly to review the current status of micro-hydropower and increase development efforts.

B. Preventing waste

1. Water utilities will be asked to confer with the Council of Agriculture (COA) to review the status of leakage and waste in water supply systems.
2. Heavy industrial users must be required to recycle and reuse water.
3. Urban development projects should incorporate water-saving valves and water storage equipment where applicable.
4. Current legal constraints imposed on reservoirs will be reviewed and regulations loosened where possible.

II. Requirement for adequate land
A. The government will make 604 hectares available for industry within two years.
B. To resolve the issue of undeveloped land in industrial zones, the government will levy fines against recalcitrant owners, only seizing properties where fines are ineffective.
C. Floor area ratio restrictions will be eased in urban industrial parks in the cities of Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
D. The Ministry of Finance will offer single-window service to make public all information concerning the sale of publicly held industrial land.
E. The MOEA and the COA were directed to hold discussions with Taiwan Sugar Corporation to determine the possibility of greater flexibility in the latter's policy of only leasing but not selling land.
F. A portion of the budget for forward-looking infrastructure projects will be set aside to fund new affordable industrial parks as well as public facilities at existing parks.

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