TAIPEI: The government of Taiwan is committed to implementing regulatory reforms en route to improving the local business environment, according to the National Development Council (NDC).
“All agencies have been instructed to address concerns raised by local and foreign business associations in their annual policy suggestions,” an official from the NDC Regulatory Reform Center said. “More effort will be put into providing advance notice of regulatory changes to foreign firms operating in Taiwan,” it added.
The council’s response followed the release of the 2015 Business Climate Survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham Taipei) earlier.
AmCham Taipei Chairman Thomas Fann said the annual poll confirms Taiwan is a good place to do business, with 69 percent of the 245 firms surveyed reporting profits and 56 percent expanding employment. Around 60 percent were bullish on the five-year business outlook, reversing a three-year trend of declining optimism.
According to Fann, executives are positive about the quality of life in Taiwan, citing the friendliness of the people, safe environment and easy lifestyle as the top three attractions.
“AmCham is encouraged by indications that the government is reviewing regulatory processes with an eye to bringing Taiwan procedures in line with standard international practices,” he said.
But to date, very few major revisions have been put in place, he said, adding that the pace will need to be accelerated to enhance Taiwan’s chances for inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
AmCham highlighted several areas of concern such as public sector red tape, inconsistent regulatory interpretations and application of the rule of law, as well as inadequate or outdated laws.
While most of the respondents are impressed by Taiwan’s industrious and well-educated work force, “deficiencies in the quantity and quality of available human resources are one of the higher risk factors,” the report said.
Domestic political unrest was also cited as a worsening problem, as were government procurement procedures, personal taxation and protectionism. The only area showing marked improvement was the number of direct flights to and from China.
In terms of Taiwan’s position regarding the TPP, 68 percent believe Taiwan is capable of meeting the high standards for joining the trade bloc, with 83 percent urging the government to pursue the goal in order to avoid economic marginalization.