The legislature passed an amendment to the Custom Law (關稅法) yesterday, granting the Executive Yuan full rights to keep commodity prices under control by reducing tariffs on eight major commodities.
Article 71 allows officials to lower the tariffs a maximum of 50 percent; the amendment will allow them to drop the tariffs to zero.
The eight commodities covered by the amendment are durum wheat, wheat flour, groats and wheatmeal, corn for feed, cornflour, corn distillers grain, soybeans and soft white wheat.
Vice Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said the amendment will cost the treasury about NT$816 million (US$26 million) in lost taxes annually.
The Executive Yuan has halved tariffs on all but soft white wheat since last August to ease the impact of rising import costs on the public, leading to an estimated loss of between NT$200 million and NT$300 million in annual tax revenues.
When Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄) approved the amendment in March, he said the government should help keep commodity prices under control.
Passage of the Custom Law amendment comes two months after the legislature approved an amendment to the Value-added and Non Value-added Business Tax Act (加值型及非加值型營業稅法).
Meanwhile, the legislature postponed the review of a draft proposal to create a special Taoyuan International Airport zone because of a lack of consensus.
The proposal aims to implement president-elect Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) campaign promise to construct a 6,150 hectare air city in Taoyuan County that would include a free-trade zone, a trade exhibition area and other facilities.