Stricter regulations on place of origin certificates would protect the reputation of Taiwan’s products, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday as the Executive Yuan unveiled draft amendments to the Foreign Trade Act (貿易法).
“A minority of unscrupulous businesses will not be allowed to jeopardize the image of Taiwan or act in ways that compromise the interests of other enterprises,” Su said at a Cabinet-level meeting in Taipei.
The proposed bill aims to deter the practice of labeling Chinese imports as being made in Taiwan, which has caused material harm to the reputation of Taiwanese products and its businesses, he said.
Photo: Lee Hsin-fang, Taipei Times
Due to the growing intensity of a US-China trade dispute, the US and Europe are expected to increase their regulation of Chinese imports and be less tolerant of the gray area in trade, he added.
The Cabinet has requested that the ministries of economic affairs and finance step up inspections of exports and enforcement of regulations against dubious labeling practices, Su said.
The bill aims to increase fines for breaking the law and rewards for whistle-blowers, as well as establish safeguards for the export of strategically valuable technologies, he said.
Those measures would prevent Taiwan from becoming embroiled in the US-China trade conflict, and maintain the reputation and competitiveness of products made in Taiwan, he added.
The Bureau of Foreign Trade has found that several Taiwanese enterprises have circumvented US tariffs on Chinese products by passing them off as being made in Taiwan, bureau Executive Secretary Nick Ni (倪克浩) said.
In response, the EU has launched an investigation into Taiwanese businesses and products, which has disrupted trade and damaged the nation’s reputation, he said.
The ministry from September last year to last month identified five products with misleading place of origin labeling and 10 incidents involving falsified product certificates, Ni said, adding that authorities have launched inquiries into those cases.
Should the bill pass into law, the fine for forging or tampering with place of origin certificates would be increased to NT$60,000 to NT$3 million (US$1,925 to US$96,262), from NT$30,000 to NT$300,000 at present, he said.
The increased fines would also apply to businesses that tamper with other trade certificates, contravene export restrictions on strategically valuable technologies or issue certificates in ways that are not in compliance with established standards and procedures, he added.
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