Fri, Jan 03, 2014 - Page 13 News List

CEPD to support startups by luring foreign investment

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) is planning on making Taiwan a more friendly place for business startups, with measures including relaxed regulations on hiring foreign workers and better access to venture capital investment.

The council plans to present its proposal for Cabinet review within two weeks, Minister Kuan Chung- ming (管中閔) said yesterday.

“We hope to attract entrepreneurs to Taiwan and to stay here,” Kuan said.

Under current regulations, companies are allowed to hire foreign employees if their revenues reached more than NT$10 million (US$337,621) in the previous year.

Foreign employees need to have work experience of more than two years and they must receive monthly salaries no less than NT$47,971, according to government regulations.

“However, many people work for a start-up company not because of high salaries or the scale of the companies, but because of the future prospects of these companies,” Kuan said.

The council wants to enable investors to acquire shares of business startups in return for their technology know-how, rather than fund investment.

In addition, the commission hopes to let foreign venture capital enter and exit the local stock market more easily, Kuan said.

“We need international venture capital to join the market and help identify business startups with strong potential,” Kuan said.

A venture capital firm usually funds startups for five to seven years before withdrawing its investment, but Taiwan’s regulations do not allow such practices during a short period of time, Kuan said.

“Start-up companies can create new comparative advantages for Taiwan compared with other countries,” Kuan said.

Commenting on stagnant salary conditions in Taiwan, Kuan said the council is aiming to attract more companies to this country to offer more jobs, which would in turn push up salaries.

As for the government’s ambition to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the near future, Kuan said it requires the nation to become ready for further liberalization.

“For instance, Taiwan may be faced with the decision of whether to allow US pork imports during future talks,” Kuan said, adding that the country has to come up with a consensus for the matter beforehand.

A free-trade agreement between China and South Korea is likely to be sealed this year, and one between Japan, South Korea and China may be finalized next year, Kuan said, adding that Taiwan should expedite its regional economic integration.

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