Fri, Nov 09, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Officials to have 30 days to reject investment plans

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday unveiled its new approval system for China-bound investment.

"The government has decided to implement an `automatic permission' system for China-bound investments of less than US$20 million," said Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生), executive secretary of the ministry's Investment Commission.

Under the scheme, officials must decide within 30 days whether to approve new investments, providing the application materials are filed appropriately, Tsai said.

"Otherwise, prospective applications will automatically be approved [by officials] and become effective immediately," he added.

These changes come as part of the government's newly announced "active opening, effective management" policy that is designed to significantly decrease the time needed to approve investment projects through a "simple review" process.

The new system is designed to weigh the financial state of prospective investors, national security concerns and the likely impact of any proposed technology transfers.

Under the government's new regulations, only individual China-bound investments worth US$20 million or more will need to be screened, on a case-by-case basis, by a soon-to-be-formed 17-member review board.

The board is to consist of industrialists, government officials and economic experts.

"As timing is crucial for most Taiwan businesses intending to tap China's market, we hope the new measures will pressure the related government agencies to further improve administrative efficiency," Tsai said.

As to China-bound investment applications currently on hold at the commission -- including two proposed projects submitted by the Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) -- Tsai said cross-strait trade officials must approve or reject those applications within 30 days of the new policy's formal implementation.

The new policy will not only facilitate cross-strait trade but also help improve administrative efficiency, Tsai said.

Formosa Plastics submitted four investment applications to the commission in June and two are still awaiting government approval.

The investments include a Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) plan to build a petrochemical complex in the port city of Ningbo (寧波) in Zhejiang Province and another plan to invest in a power co-generation plant, the draft of which was submitted by the Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp (台灣化纖).

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