The European Chamber of Com-merce in Taipei (ECCT) yesterday urged Taiwan to speed up the pace of its internationalization and further improve regulatory practices, as it released its 2004-2005 Position Papers.
The chamber, which rep-resents 325 multinational companies in Taiwan across 25 industries, said regulatory difficulties are keeping international goods and services from entering the local market.
ECCT Chairman Dirk Saenger said the chamber has seen progress on some priority issues in the past year, but other key issues remain unsettled -- such as foreign companies' participation in government procurement projects and bans on certain goods shipped from China.
"Whilst the ECCT is pleased to see the extension of European business in Taiwan and in partnership with Taiwanese firms around the world, we are concerned about the sustained growth in our partnership if Taiwan does not take bolder steps to embrace internationalization," Saenger said.
In its review, the chamber welcomed significant achievements made in pharmaceutical data exclusivity, financial caps on infrastructure bids, improved automotive testing, as well as the easing of restrictions on Chinese staff and some importations.
The review also listed five priority areas for further improvement: Speed up cross-strait business normalization, give full access to government procurement projects, adopt international standards and conformity assessment procedures, for example in the automotive and machinery sectors, upgrade service industries to an international standard and improve market surveillance and the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).
John Pickles, ECCT executive director, said the government should discard restrictive Taiwan-only practices and amend outdated regulations to achieve these goals.
"ECCT believes that Taiwan will gain more from embracing internationalization than it gives away in loss of protection," Pickles said.
In response, Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正), chairman of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development, said the government is serious about eliminating obstacles to investment and making Taiwan investor-friendly to meet the needs of foreign businesses.
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