Fri, Jan 20, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Australia's envoy calls for less red tape

CNA , TAIPEI

Australia is looking for more cooperation with Taiwan on all fronts, with economic ties being the top priority, the top Australian representative in Taiwan said on Wednesday while urging the government to make it easier and simpler for foreign companies to do business here.

Steve Waters, representative of the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO), Taipei, said he has found decreased interest among Australian businesspeople in doing business in Taiwan.

"First of all it's because of their obsession with China -- a big market," he said. "But we also see the Taiwan market as being too over-regulated. There is a lot of red tape and too many rules and regulations, which creates a heavy workload for foreign companies that want to enter the market."

The American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei and the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei also share similar concerns about the difficulties in investing in Taiwan, he said.

"What is needed for the Taiwan government is a top-down approach to reforming [the system], rather than a `bottom-up' approach," Waters said.

It serves Taiwan's interests to open up to foreign investment because if there are more foreign companies operating here, this means more foreign governments will be concerned about protecting their interests in the country if any sort of military conflict were to break out, Waters said.

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