The Cabinet yesterday extended its “Invest in Taiwan” initiative for three years, adding more funding and requirements to meet the government’s 2050 net-zero carbon emissions goals.
The extension of the repatriation program came amid persistent demand from Taiwanese businesses and an anticipated wave of reshoring due to changes in China’s business environment, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference in Taipei after a weekly Cabinet meeting.
The initiative, which began in July 2019 and is due to expire at the end of next week, provides favorable loan terms, and assistance in accessing land, utilities and talent to firms seeking to move production to Taiwan or expand their local operations.
Photo courtesy of the Executive Yuan
As of Friday last week, the government had approved 1,109 applications from Taiwanese businesses to invest a combined NT$1.55 trillion (US$55.78 billion) under the initiative, the InvesTaiwan Service Center said last week, adding that the investment pledges are estimated to create 123,425 jobs.
With the initiative extended through 2024, the government plans to provide an additional NT$430 billion in financing for participating firms, which is expected to attract NT$900 billion in investment and create 40,000 jobs, Lo said.
As there is still NT$60 billion in unused financing for the current program, the available loans for participating firms would be NT$490 billion, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生) said.
The government would review the size of financing on a rolling basis and adjust the loan amount as needed, Tseng said.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that the initiative would still provide firms with preferential loans, but it would make minor adjustments to interest-rate subsidies and the duration of the benefits for different programs.
As for the net-zero carbon emissions requirement, Tseng said that participating firms would be reviewed based on their plans to use green energy, or energy-saving or low-carbon emissions equipment; implement heat recovery or circulation; construct green buildings; and enact projects that contribute to the government’s net-zero carbon emissions goal.
InvesTaiwan Service Center chief executive Emile Chang (張銘斌) said that the government would set separate requirements for large, small and medium-sized enterprises to implement energy saving and carbon reduction programs, rather than a uniform standard.
As a result, applicants for the initiative would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis on this front, Chang said.
The announcement came after Chinese authorities last month hit Taiwanese conglomerate Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) with hefty fines for allegedly contravening regulations on environmental protection, land use, employee health, safety, taxes and product quality, while state-backed Chinese media reported that the fines were connected to Far Eastern’s role as one of the biggest donors to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party.
Many Taiwanese businesses have already exited China amid US-China trade tensions, but the Far Eastern incident, coupled with China’s stricter environmental protection and carbon reduction rules, have prompted more to participate in the government’s initiative, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said late last month.
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