CEPD readies proposal on free economic zone

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Dec 26, 2012 - Page 13

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) will submit a proposal on establishing “free economic demonstration zones” to the Cabinet for review later this week, which, if approved, will accelerate economic liberalization and pave the way for achieving the nation’s goal of regional economic integration.

The proposal would ease restrictions on labor recruitment, cash flow, land acquisition and market opening for operations set up within the government-designated free economic zone, CEPD Minister Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) said at a press conference yesterday.

Yiin declined to elaborate on details of the proposed deregulation, adding that the Cabinet has the final say on the proposal.

Once the Cabinet approves the council’s proposal, it will send a draft bill for review by the legislature when it begins its new session in February.

Under the government’s plan, the free economic demonstration zone may include one or more regional centers, such as a medical center for severe diseases and medical tourism, an innovation and integration center for industries, a logistics center, a personnel training center, as well as an agricultural transportation and sales center, Yiin said.

Yiin said that the free economic demonstration zone is different from previous government initiatives in that it is not designed for any specific industry.

“All companies can enter the zone if they think they can survive in this environment,” Yiin said.

The council has said that Greater Kaohsiung will be the location for the proposed free economic demonstration zone. Yiin yesterday did not say if other places would be added to the project.

“Any place suitable for free economic demonstration zones has the potential to become one or several of the five [proposed] centers,” Yiin said.

Earlier this year, the Cabinet asked the council to do more research on the creation of a free economic demonstration zone, which represents an important process in the nation’s economic liberalization, as well as a move to create conditions favorable for Taiwan’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that several countries like the US, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore are negotiating.