Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday demanded that the Executive Yuan present an impact assessment report on planned “free economic pilot zones” (FEPZ) to gauge the pros and cons of the policy.
“The current scheme of the ambitious plan has gone beyond its original experimental nature, while the potential damage that local municipalities and sectors might suffer remains unknown,” Su said after an internal party meeting that focused on the zones.
The project, which was part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign platform, calls for the establishment of FEPZs in six ports — Keelung, Suao (蘇澳) in Yilan County, Taipei, Greater Taichung, Anping (安平) in Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung — as well as the Taoyuan Aerotropolis in Taoyuan County and the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park in its first stage.
Liberalization of personnel, logistics and financial flows, relaxation of investment restrictions and tax incentives would be implemented in the zones in the hope of boosting economic momentum.
However, the plan has serious flaws, as Chinese investors, companies and workers would receive the same treatment as those of other countries, which he said could lead to national security concerns.
It requires more than the FEPZ scheme to revive Taiwan’s sluggish economy, Su quoted the meeting as concluding, as a rigid legislative framework and failure to upgrade industrial structure had been the root cause of the nation’s economic woes.
The plans appeared to rely on the traditional and outdated concept that lower taxes could bring in more investment and boost the economy and employment, Su said.
With the government set to send the FEPZ special statute to the legislature by the end of this month, and with an eye to implementing the policy by the end of the year, Su urged the Cabinet to conduct a comprehensive impact assessment report on every city, county and sector involved for discussion in the legislature.