Fri, Dec 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Wage, trade, pollution changes coming

EXTRAORDINARY SESSION:The Cabinet and the DPP caucus agreed to push five priority bills, including the central government budget and changes to the labor law

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

From left, Minister of Justice Chiu Tai-san, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung and Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun attend a post-meeting news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

A total of 48 new laws and regulations are to take effect on Monday, ranging from a lower tax exemption threshold for foreign e-commerce Web sites to increases in the minimum wage and tighter environmental regulations.

The custom tax exemption threshold for goods purchased on foreign e-commerce platforms is to be lowered from NT$3,000 to NT$2,000.

The change is to ensure equal taxation, because goods sold on local e-commerce platforms are levied according to national laws.

The monthly minimum wage is to increase from NT$21,009 to NT$22,000, benefiting 1.66 million workers, and the minimum hourly pay is to rise from NT$133 to NT$140, benefiting 390,000 workers.

Civil servants, military personnel and public school staff are to receive a 3 percent pay raise.

Changes to environmental regulations include a ban on the use of microbeads — tiny plastic particles that are too small to be picked up by sewage filtration systems before entering the ocean and food chain — in personal care products.

A full ban on asbestos is to take effect, with the prohibition on the use of asbestos in brake pads — the last legal use of the carcinogenic substance in Taiwan.

To reduce air pollution, a seasonal pollution tax system is to be introduced, with higher tax rates during autumn and winter when pollution is most severe.

The measure is expected to lower emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other volatile chemical compounds by 3,226 tonnes every season.

Two-stroke scooter owners who retire the environmentally unfriendly vehicle can claim a cash reward of NT$1,000, with the amount rising to between NT$4,000 and NT$6,000 if they also purchase an electric scooter.

Buyers of electric scooters will be entitled to a cash reward of between NT$1,500 and NT$3,500.

The reward is to decrease by NT$500 every year until 2020 when the program expires.

“The measures are designed to improve air quality and protect public health,” Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus have reached a consensus on the priority bills to be reviewed during an extraordinary legislative session next month.

The five priority bills are the central government’s general budget, a draft amendment to the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), a set of bills on tax reform, the review of nominees for Control Yuan members and a draft amendment to the Act of Irrigation Association Organization (農田水利會組織通則).

The caucus on Tuesday will request an extraordinary session to be held from Friday next week to Jan. 31.

While the limited number of legislation scheduled for the extraordinary session might be a result of the anticipated opposition from opposition parties, the absence of amendments to the Mining Act (礦業法), the Air Pollution Control Act (空氣污染防制法) and the Company Act (公司法) — legislations believed to be urgent — was determined by the caucus, and the Cabinet respected its decision, Executive Yuan deputy spokeswoman Chang Hsiu-chen (張秀禎) said.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) and the caucus reached the understanding during a regular meeting yesterday, and Lai expressed gratitude for DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming’s (柯建銘) support, Chang said.

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