The Cabinet yesterday approved the first phase of a plan to establish “free economic pilot zones,” a project designed to serve as a model for deregulation and accelerate the nation’s progress toward full economic liberalization.
The first stage calls for the designation of eight areas as free-trade zones: Suao Port in Yilan County, Keelung Port, Taipei Port in New Taipei City (新北市), Taichung Port in Greater Taichung, Kaohsiung Port in Greater Kaohsiung, Anping Port in Greater Tainan, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis in Taoyuan County and the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park.
A range of restrictions covering labor recruitment, raw material imports, exports and capital flow under 13 administrative rules were lifted, effective yesterday, Minister Without Portfolio Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) told a press conference.
The pilot zones project, which went into effect yesterday, is expected to attract NT$20 billion (NT$667.6 million) in investment, add NT$30 billion to GDP by the end of next year and create 13,000 jobs, Kuan said.
Kuan said the Executive Yuan would speed up efforts to enact a dedicated law before large-scale deregulation measures are implemented, which would include tax incentives.
The pilot zones will first focus on four industries: international logistics centers, international medical services, value-added agriculture and industrial cooperative ventures between local and foreign investors, Kuan said.
However, “the project can be extended to apply to other types of industries,” he said.
Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the project could fast-tract the nation’s efforts to join regional trade blocs, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.