Fri, Dec 21, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet approves bill to ease investment controls

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet yesterday approved amendments to relax review procedures for foreign investments with the aim of attracting more international investors to boost the local economy.

Currently, the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals (外國人投資條例) and the Domestic Investments by Overseas Compatriots Act (華僑回國投資條例) require nearly all investments made by foreigners and overseas Taiwanese to be submitted to prior review.

The amendments to the legislation said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Investment Commission, which is in charge of reviewing the investments, should draw up exemption thresholds for certain types of investments.

The amendments also said that foreigners and overseas Taiwanese who invest less than US$1 million could be exempt from going through the prior review process and would only be required to declare their investment after it was made. This would make prior review unnecessary for about 80 percent of such investors.

However, the amendments stipulate that foreigners and overseas Taiwanese will still be required to receive prior approval before investing in 52 types of industries, including the telecommunications, financial, insurance and security sectors, regardless of the size of their investments.

The amendments are pedning legislative approval.

Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said that Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) has designated the amendments as priority bills on the legislative agenda before the legislature ends its session in the middle of next month.

Chen told a meeting of the Cabinet yesterday that the amendments would promote more investment inflows into the country by creating a more benign environment for investors, which he believed would be reflected in the nation’s standing in the IMD World Competitiveness Index, which measures the competitiveness of nations.

Separately, the premier yesterday also urged government officials to take heed of global cyberwars and be on the alert against state-sponsored attacks on government networks.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Chen said there are many indications of global cyberwars, some initiated by foreign computer hackers and some by nations.

Last month, Israel carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip, but a virtual battle was also waged by cyberterrorists against Israeli companies, he said.

Taiwanese government officials should stay vigilant against such attacks, he added.

Chen said US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned recently that the US is at risk of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” — a series of attacks by cyberterrorists aimed at crippling the country’s power grid, transportation and financial system.

The premier asked Minister Without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) to give consideration to such issues during an information security meeting next week.

Taiwan’s representative offices abroad should be particularly alert to the risk of cyberattacks, the premier added.

Additional reporting by CNA

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