Current investment measures and regulations are enough to regulate Chinese investment and there is no need to turn them into formal laws, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.
The Measures Governing Investment Permit to the People of the Mainland Area (大陸地區人民來台投資許可辦法) are administrative decrees, but are still stricter than the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals (外國人投資條例), Shih said at a hearing at the legislature.
Existing regulations can safeguard national security, he said, adding that the status quo should be maintained for the sake of administrative efficiency.
Opposition lawmakers appeared unconvinced and proposed codifying the measures into law as has been done with other investment statutes.
Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said China has changed its strategic plan toward Taiwan from “attacking” to “buying,” and he said a law on Chinese investment is needed so that it would be subject to legislative supervision.
At present, Chinese investment is only regulated by administrative agencies, without legislative oversight.
Ker said the mechanism used to screen investments must be strengthened and he advocated drafting specific clauses listing the sectors in which Chinese investors are not permitted to invest.
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) told the hearing that the opposition’s proposal would create an even more unfriendly environment toward Chinese investment in Taiwan.
Taiwan has opened its market to Chinese investment since 2009, but only drawn US$311 million in investment, government statistics show.
Wang said the government is moving toward a fourth phase of deregulation and liberalization of Chinese investments. It will make sure the relaxation does not result in a monopoly, hurt Taiwan’s economy, society and culture, or threaten the country’s national security and financial stability, he said.
A strict screening process will be maintained on individual investment projects, he said.
Wang said a task force under the Ministry of Economic Affairs is working on the details of the fourth phase of deregulation, which will be made public after the work is completed.
After three phases of liberalization over the past four years, Chinese capital has gained access to 97 percent of the business categories in Taiwan’s manufacturing sector, 51 percent of the service sector and 51 percent of the public infrastructure construction industry.
In his Double Ten National Day address President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) promised to eliminate investment barriers.