Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said that agencies concerned with economic development are confident they would solve problems facing businesses planning to move back to Taiwan.
Lai made the remarks after Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Su-yueh (陳素月), who represents Changhua County, asked whether the government is ready to respond to the trend of Taiwanese businesses moving production lines back home in the wake of the trade war.
Investment is an indispensable factor to drive economic growth, which is the government’s top priority, Lai said.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Since he becane premier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been under orders to identify problems regarding the “five shortages” of land, water, electricity, talent and labor, and to engage in extensive talks with local industries, Lai said.
The ministry has established the InvesTaiwan Service Center in Taipei to address challenges facing industries, including challenges relating to businesses returning home from China, he said.
“Put simply, agencies of the Executive Yuan are confident they will be able to solve problems concerning returning Taiwanese businesses investing in the nation,” he said.
Chen asked whether there would be rivalry between returning businesses and their locally based counterparts stemming from the five shortages.
Lai said that returning might not be a suitable option for all firms that have operations in China.
For example, the government would not be able to handle labor-intensive companies with 10,000 or more employees if they were to return, so it would be best if the business models of those planning to return conformed with its development goals, he said.
The government would also provide support for businesses that might not be well suited to return and might seek to relocate to other nations, in particular those that plan to move to nations covered by the New Southbound Policy, Lai said.
The government would help them form clusters in those nations and attain sustainable growth, he said.
The ministry on Thursday at a weekly news conference at the Executive Yuan said firms that have expressed interest in returning are mostly manufacturers of communication devices or bicycles.
Also on Thursday, Lai, at a meeting to discuss facilitating investment by returning companies, assigned National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) to put together a task force to address the issue.
The task force is in charge of helping returning businesses meet difficulties concerning capital and the five shortages.
Simply seeking to attract investment from local businesses does not work well in today’s business environment, which encourages industry chains, Lai said at the meeting on Thursday.
The ministry said it would make about 415 hectares of public land available for business use and it expects to expand that space to 1,470 hectares by 2022 by revitalizing unused plots.
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