Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Japanese business group welcomes labor reforms

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei yesterday released its annual position paper, which welcomed government efforts to revise labor rules, but called on Taiwan to detail measures to make the nation nuclear free.

The trade group said the government should allow companies and workers more flexibility in negotiating work weeks and compensation terms, adding that the current measures have increased overtime pay rates and fail to take into account seasonality for different sectors.

Under the requirements introduced this year, personnel costs increased to unreasonably high levels for manufacturers that rely heavily on overtime work to fill orders ahead of high-sales season, while companies in the service sector have voiced similar complaints over holiday arrangements, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the government should take concrete steps to advance the goal of making Taiwan nuclear free in 2025, boost its foreign trade terms and shore up cooperation with Japan, the paper said.

Instability in electricity supply has drawn the attention of local and foreign companies, with the massive blackout in August deepening their unease, the chamber said.

Japanese firms could share their know-how and experience in the development of renewable energy, biotechnology, “smart” technologies and Internet of Things applications, the paper said.

Other Japanese firms have also expressed concerns over policy inconsistency and lengthy procedural review in Taiwan, it said.

Taiwan needs to cope with challenges from the increasing regional economic integration given its heavy dependence on exports, the paper said.

Failure to secure favored trade terms would raise cost burdens and erode competitiveness for Taiwanese products, it added.

Japan is Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner, while Taiwan is Japan’s fourth-largest, with bilateral trade totaling US$4.85 billion last year, government data showed.

The association urged the government to strengthen trade ties with Japan, saying the two sides can join forces in fields such as creative industry, artificial intelligence, autonomous cars and “smart” production.

It also urged Taiwan to lift bans on food products imported from Japan.

The trade group consists of hundreds of firms with most selling goods and services to the local market.

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