Mon, May 13, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Former official says foreign talent will boost development

STAFF WRITER

The government needs to work more aggressively to attract talent from other countries, in addition to easing the restrictions on foreign professionals working in Taiwan, said the former head of the Council for Economic Planning and Development.

Chen Po-chih (陳博志), who now heads the Taiwan Think Tank (台灣智庫), said the government's current policy of importing a massive low-skilled workforce is incompatible with Taiwan's long-term economic development.

Chen said technology-intensive products now take up 40 percent of Taiwan's exports, compared to more than 60 percent in developed countries.

According to Chen, the gap highlights the need for Taiwan to cultivate high-tech talent and attract talent from other countries.

Chen's comments were reflected in the annual white paper released by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, which said Taiwan's labor laws risked hobbling the economy.

In its business confidence survey, the majority of AmCham members said access to a high-quality labor force was the most essential part of improving their ventures in Taiwan.

The white paper said "virtually every AmCham industry and professional-service category has complaints about Taiwan's restrictions on the free flow of human capital."

Outdated and inappropriate work-permit requirements and impossibly high professional licensing requirements for foreigners pose a serious impediments to business development, the paper said.

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