Sat, Oct 12, 2013 - Page 13 News List

CEPD to take a leaf out of China’s free-trade zone

CATCH UP:‘Free economic pilot zone’ schemes could see more regulatory relaxations and tax reductions as the government tries to increase cross-border flows

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) is planning to expand the scope of the proposed “free economic pilot zones” scheme in a bid to compete with zones in neighboring countries, CEPD Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said yesterday.

“We will study China’s Shanghai free-trade zone, and include the aspects we can add in our planned pilot zones,” the minister said.

“We are now facing more severe competition from overseas, including China’s free trade zones,” he added.

The council will also discuss more regulatory relaxations to allow greater cross-border financial activities with the Financial Supervisory Commission, he said.

Although the government must devise a special law in order for the pilot zones to begin operation, there is the risk the legislation might be delayed in the Legislative Yuan, considering the current political situation in Taiwan.

Kuan said this could delay the planned implementation of tax reductions and the liberalization of hiring foreign employees within the pilot zones.

To speed up the process, agencies will work first on administrative policy changes that do not require legislative approval, he said.

In his speech at the Double Ten National Day ceremony on Thursday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that the government wants to develop Taiwan as a “free

economic island.”

Kuan said the key to developing a free economy lies in the readiness of Taiwanese, and the council will seek better ways to communicate with the public, especially young people.

In the long term, the council aims to expand the scheme in the pilot zones to the whole country, transforming Taiwan into a free economy, Kuan said.

He added that more industries are to be added to enjoy the benefits of easing regulations and tax reductions.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) instructed the council to review the design of the pilot zones on Thursday after Ma said the scope of pilot zones should be more ambitious than the current design, Kuan said.

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