China must adhere to Taiwan’s Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物處理法), as well as to other international treaties, if it wants to export hazardous waste across the Taiwan Strait if the cross-strait service trade pact is implemented, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
Chinese-funded companies would need permission from the government to set up waste treatment factories in Taiwan and so should seek to follow environmental regulations, it added.
EPA Minister Wei Kuo-yen (魏國彥) was yesterday scheduled to brief lawmakers on the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee about the administration’s operations, as well as its proposed amendment to Articles 13 and 33 of the Marine Pollution Control Act (海洋汙染防治法).
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Chieh-kuo (劉建國) asked Wei if the administration plans to conduct thorough evaluations of Chinese companies before allowing them to invest in the six environmental industry service sectors that would be opened up as part of the cross-strait service trade agreement: wastewater treatment; waste disposal; and soil and groundwater pollution treatment services.
Liu said that Chinese businesses could take advantage of the agreement as a convenient way to export hazardous waste to Taiwan.
Wei replied that Taiwan and China have agreed to open environmental services equally under the agreement.
Yeh Jiunn-horng (葉俊宏), the director-general of the environmental administration’s comprehensive planning department, said that the nation has allowed Chinese companies to invest in these services since 2009 in compliance with the commitments Taiwan made when it joined the WTO.
Yeh said that the government has so far received three investment applications and two of them are in place.
The total amount invested was only US$270,000, he said.
“The waste treatment factories funded by Chinese investors can handle waste produced in Taiwan, but they need to obtain government permits to handle waste and use waste treatment facilities,” Yeh said.
“If they want to handle waste from overseas, they need to meet the relevant regulations in the Waste Disposal Act, as well as the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste,” he added.
“There are already enough players in Taiwan in all these services,” Yeh said.
“What the agreement would do is allow Taiwanese businesspeople to establish factories in China with 100 percent of their own funding. Their performance in Taiwan would be recognizable by the Chinese government. Currently, Taiwanese enterprises have to find partners in China to do this and the Chinese government does not recognize their performance in Taiwan,” he said.