Wed, Jan 09, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Audrey Tang’s fee announcement surprises Expedia

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

People making hotel reservations and booking flight tickets on with their credit cards would no longer need to pay cross-border transaction fees, Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) announced on Facebook on Monday.

Tang made the announcement after she received a letter of appreciation from Expedia, which she attached to her post.

Signed by Expedia Group senior director in government and corporate affairs in Asia Ang Choo Pin (洪子斌) and international tax director Audrey Pon (潘碧晶), the letter listed a team of 22 government officials that had helped make “Project TPX Taiwan” possible, including Premier William Lai (賴清德), Tang, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) and Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman Wellington Koo.

“With your help and Baker McKenzie Taipei team’s assistance during the past year to communicate and negotiate with your team, we can now launch the Taiwan project. Upon launching this project, Taiwanese customers will no longer need to pay cross-border transaction fees on credit card purchases,” the letter said.

“We express our sincere gratitude for the innovation team’s efforts. We are deeply impressed with the efficiency and spontaneous support from various Taiwan government agencies, and how everyone embraced innovative spirit. This is the best New Year gift for Taiwan consumers,” it said.

Tang said the project serves as another example of how innovation leads to regulatory adaption, and thanked various government agencies for their support.

Prestige PR, which represents Expedia Taiwan, said the online tour booking Web site is working with government officials on the project, but the firm did not expect Tang to unveil the details before the company had made an announcement.

Asked when Taiwanese customers would start enjoying the benefit and whether the benefit would also apply to foreigners living in Taiwan, the PR agency said that all the relevant details are expected to be included in a statement to be released today.

The Tourism Bureau said that it was not part of the team that negotiated the deal, but it nevertheless welcomes the development as it helps Taiwanese travelers when they plan their tours online.

Taipei City University of Science and Technology assistant professor Ringo Lee (李奇嶽) said the deal would motivate more cross-border e-commerce service platforms to establish a local operation, which benefits both customers and tour operators.

Customers could save about 1 to 2 percent of their travel expenses when the cross-border transaction fees are waived, while international e-commerce service operators and hoteliers in Taiwan could settle their accounts in New Taiwan dollars without having to worry about foreign-exchange losses, Lee said.

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