Wed, Dec 05, 2018 - Page 12 News List

MOEA to foster return of companies

MEETING NEEDS:Homebound firms primarily need help with labor recruitment, so the ministry is working to raise the migrant worker cap for high-investing companies

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA) yesterday outlined administrative efficiency measures to foster the return of Taiwanese businesses as they cope with US-China trade tensions.

While Beijing and Washington declared a temporary truce at the G20 summit in Argentina, the government would continue to assist companies that want to diversify their production bases, export markets and investment destinations, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) told a news conference in Taipei.

The ministry has set up a trade war task force to provide customized services for homebound businesses, while the National Development Council is drafting a program to provide firms one-stop assistance with finding employees and applying for financing, utilities, tax incentives and land, Kung said.

The ministry would also leverage the government’s ties to help companies relocate manufacturing to Southeast Asian nations under the New Southbound Policy, Kung said, adding that the measures are expected to remain in effect for three years from Jan. 1.

More than 60 companies are working on return plans with various government agencies, including about 25 that are being helped by the ministry, Kung said.

However, as many of these companies are publicly traded, the government cannot announce investment plans on their behalf, Kung added.

Homebound companies have begun expanding and reactivating idle capacity in Taiwan, and their needs are primarily in labor recruitment, Kung said.

The ministry is drafting measures to give companies that meet investment requirements a higher cap on migrant workers, he said.

Global trade conditions are changing rapidly and companies should not put all their eggs in one basket, Kung said, adding that despite the reprieve in the US-China trade war, companies should not count on a return to pre-trade war conditions.

There is no way to tell whether US-China talks during the 90-day ceasefire would succeed in curbing Chinese agricultural subsidies, forced technology transfers, cyberattacks and a lack of intellectual property protection, Kung said.

The US said it would raise its 10 percent tariffs to 25 percent if the negotiations fail.

Regarding land shortages in Taiwan, the MOEA said that landowners have taken action after the government in September cracked down on people hoarding idle plots.

Many have started using their land or are renting it to businesses with expansion plans, it said.

US-bound network equipment and medium-to-low-end bicycle components might see the greatest effect from the trade tensions, due to their reliance on China-based manufacturing, the ministry said.

Taiwan-made hand tools, nuts and bolts, guide rails, motors, steel, auto components, power adapters and batteries are expected to gain a competitive advantage, the MOEA said, adding that laptops, smartphones, TV sets and apparel have so far been spared from the tariff hikes.

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