Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 12 News List

MOEA plans conference

INVESTORS WANTED The conference forms part of the ministry's plan to attract foreign investment, but a TAITRA official said that the government needs to clarify its policies

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Economic Affairs announced yesterday that it will hold an international investment conference on Oct. 12 in a bid to achieve its goal of attracting 100 foreign investments.

The ministry plans to invite 150 local companies and 50 foreign enterprises to participate in the "2006 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference," according to a statement released by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會), one of the conference's organizers.

This year's event will see Matthew Ginsburg, head of Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific, give a keynote speech on investment strategies on expanding business by mergers and acquisitions, according to TAITRA.

The one-day conference will also feature panel discussions on four separate industries -- financial services, logistics services, medical electronics and broadband Internet -- TAITRA said.

Joe Nardone, general manager of Intel Corp's Wimax Solutions Division, has agreed to be a panelist for the broadband Internet discussion, a TAITRA official in charge of the event told the Taipei Times yesterday.

The official, who preferred not to be named, said organizers were still in the process of inviting other participants to the event, including executives from Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo Inc, Citibank, the Economist and others.

In the buildup to the conference, TAITRA has held several smaller forums in other countries to attract foreign investment, she said. As of yesterday, TAITRA had secured 91 investments worth NT$400 million (US$12.26 million) in this way, closing in on its target of attracting 100 investments, she added.

Direct foreign investments totaled US$3.58 billion in 2003, US$3.95 billion in 2004, US$4.23 billion last year and US$6.95 billion for the first half of this year, according to government statistics.

Despite the rising figures, the TAITRA official said many foreign companies had expressed concern about investing in Taiwan due to volatile policy-making.

The "006688" incentive for foreign companies to lease land in industrial parks, for example, will expire at the end of the year, but the government has yet to decide whether to extend the incentive or scrap it, she said.

The program allows foreign companies to occupy space in industrial parks rent-free for the first two years, at a 40 percent discount for the third and fourth year, and at a 20 percent discount for the fifth and sixth years.

The same problem also applied to the government's policy of a five-year tax exemption on high-tech investments, she said. The measure was proposed for discussion in last month's Conference on Sustaining Taiwan's Economic Development, but no agreement was reached.

"The government should map out a middle or long-term plan for industrial development to reassure foreign investors," she said.

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