The project is aimed at attracting investors to use the pilot zones as bases to establish international logistics centers, to operate international medical services, to manufacture value-added agricultural products and to cooperate with local industries to promote industrial innovation and integration, Kuan said.
Within the zones, limitations on domestic investment would be relaxed and the rules concerning land acquisition, employment of skilled and white-collar workers, visa requirements and taxation would be adjusted, he said.
For example, foreign and Chinese professionals would not need to meet the country’s two-year work experience requirement, foreign businesspeople would be allowed to enter Taiwan without a visa for a short stay and Chinese professionals would be granted multi-entry visas valid for three years, the plan showed.
Imports of agricultural and industrial materials for processing and manufacturing in pilot zones would be exempted from tariffs, business tax and commodity tax, it said.
The government did not unveil details of the whole package of investment incentives, with Kuan saying that revisions needed to be made.
In pilot zones, investors would be allowed to import 830 types of currently banned Chinese agricultural products, a policy severely criticized by the opposition as a breach of a pledge made by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said that agricultural products for processing in pilot zones could come from all over the world, not just China.
To protect local farmers, investors in the agricultural processing business in pilot zones would not be allowed to sell semi-manufactured or manufactured food products on the Taiwanese market.
However, the ban is not applied to investors in other industries that use imports from China as industrial materials, Kuan said.
Currently, there are a total of 110 businesses in the country’s six free-trade zones, with a total value of trade of NT$500 billion (US$16.7 billion).
The government expects the pilot project to increase the number of businesses in pilot zones to 200 and double the value of trade in two years, Kuan said.