Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet outlines plans to free up land

INDUSTRIAL ACTION:The government aims to release 371 hectares for immediate use in state-run industrial parks and 604 hectares over the next two years, an official said

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Premier William Lai addresses a news conference in Taipei yesterday. He is accompanied by Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung, left, and Vice Premier Shih Jun-jim, right.

Photo: CNA

The Cabinet yesterday announced plans to free up to 1,422 hectares of underutilized land for industrial use in four years as part of a package to address industrial shortages.

The government is to release public properties or unused private land in industrial parks, develop new parks and redevelop existing ones to meet business needs for 1,266 hectares of land.

The plan is part of measures to alleviate the nation’s five industrial shortages of land, power, water, workers and skilled labor.

“The public is most concerned with economic development and it is the fundamental means of improving the nation,” Premier William Lai (賴清德) told a news conference in Taipei, adding that the Cabinet’s priority to stimulate the economy by boosting consumption, removing hurdles to investment, implementing tax reforms and facilitating the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, as well as the “five plus two” innovation program.

The government can release 371 hectares for immediate use and a total of 604 hectares within two years from state-run industrial parks, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.

A two-year waiver on rent would be offered, while the government is to fund about 435 hectares of infrastructure construction and facility upgrades in industrial parks, Kung said.

To free up private and vacant properties in industrial parks, the Cabinet proposed a bill — which was passed by the legislature on Friday — to auction such properties.

Under the legislation, vacant property is defined as any land on which no structure is built within three years of its acquisition; property owners will have a two-year grace period to properly utilize the land, after which the government can auction it.

The compulsory auctions are expected to free up 589 hectares, Kung said.

The regulation limits, but does not compromise, personal property rights, because vacant properties are auctioned according to market value, not at reduced prices, Minister Without Portfolio Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said.

“While everyone is making an effort to boost the economy, it is not permissible that a handful of people are harming social justice by holding on to property for profit,” Lai said.

The Cabinet is also to fund the development of 391 hectares of new industrial parks while assisting local governments in developing about 128 hectares of industrial zones.

It is also to put forward a plan to build higher structures in urban industrial parks to create an additional 450,000 ping (1.49 million square meters) of floor space.

It would cost NT$13.5 billion (US$447 million) to implement the property release plans, Kung said.

Asked if the released properties would actually be used, as businesses have been reluctant to move into industrial parks, Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) said that some parks are underutilized due to their location, and the new measures would eliminate the traditional approach of building large industrial parks and instead release smaller plots in different areas.

However, the government would not target Taiwan Sugar Corp (8), which owns up to 50,000 hectares of farmland, about half of which has been designated as quality farmland, Chang said.

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