Improving Taiwan’s Rules-making Process

The government is working on introducing a Regulatory Impact Analysis manual.

In AmCham Taipei’s experience, many of the regulatory problems that business operations face in Taiwan – including a large number of the issues that find their way into the Chamber’s annual Taiwan White Paper – could have been avoided through more rigorous analysis by government agencies and more extensive communication with prospective stakeholders before the new regulation was promulgated. The Executive Yuan’s National Development Council (NDC) has reached the same conclusion, and is therefore seeking to devise a set of guidelines aimed at instituting a more effective rules-making process throughout the executive branch of government.

Government departments under the Executive Yuan have long been required to submit a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) when proposing a new or revised regulation. But the procedure has usually amounted to little more than a pro forma ticking off of boxes on a checklist, and the results – limited to the government’s internal use – are not available to the public.

The NDC has put together a first draft of an RIA Manual aimed at making the system more open and inclusive, and is inviting stakeholders – including AmCham Taipei and other business organizations – to provide their suggestions. Under the new system as currently envisioned, a government agency considering issuing a new regulation would first need to file an RIA report that clearly specifies the problem at issue and explains the proposed approach to addressing it, examining its merits as compared with alternative solutions.

The report would be made available for public comment for a reasonable period of time, after which revisions based on stakeholder feedback would be incorporated into a new draft written in the proposed final legal language. The new draft would also undergo a round of public comment.

The system should make it possible to identify prospective problems in the enforcement of new regulations at an early stage when they can still be easily remedied. As a result, the change should make life easier for both the regulators and the regulated.