When it became evident that none of the 80 issues raised by AmCham Taipei’s various committees in the 2016 Taiwan White Paper had been fully resolved, the Taiwan government took action in hopes of assuring greater progress in the coming year on the current White Paper issues released in June. Deputy Minister Kung Ming-hsin of the National Development Council (NDC) was assigned to oversee a new process for coordination between the government and AmCham to drive issue resolution.
The first of what are scheduled to be quarterly review meetings was held at the NDC conference room on August 30. Over the course of more than four hours, with Deputy Minister Kung presiding, representatives from six AmCham committees had the opportunity to exchange views with officials from the relevant regulatory agencies. The committees and their issues were:
Travel & Tourism, regarding Taiwan’s policy of requiring refunds for canceled hotel reservations, even when customers agreed to non-cancellability as part of special promotional offers. The government offices involved – the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Communications and Transportation and the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee – agreed to review the policy further.
Intellectual Property, on proposed revisions to the Copyright Act. The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) provided assurance that the current draft amendments maintain the previous penalties for piracy of optical-disc products. MOEA will give further study to the committee’s other requests: removal of the proposed exemption allowing content retransmission from “home-use facilities” (objected to on the grounds of vagueness), extension of copyright protection to 70 years consistent with the global trend, and an increase in the minimum compensation to NT$30,000 per infringement when calculating damages to be paid the copyright owner.
Retail, concerning problems with mandatory inspection of various imported products in certified domestic laboratories. The NDC committed to work with the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration to find a way to inform companies of more detailed test results as well as the testing methodology. It also agreed to help find funding for translation of the lab reports into English to facilitate companies’ communication with their overseas suppliers and head offices.
Insurance, on suggested measures to incentivize insurers to offer protection insurance. Prior to the August 30 meeting, the Financial Supervisory Commission responded to one committee request by making it possible for brokers and agency companies to connect with insurance companies’ e-commerce systems.
Capital Markets, on proposals to relax existing securities investment rules to permit broader participation. The local industry associations will be asked to provide input on allowing brokers to provide short-term trading strategies to professional investors and on developing a system for foreign institutional investors to participate in competitive auction IPO/SPO activity.
Banking, regarding regulatory restrictions on the onshore wealth-management business. The Banking Bureau expressed interest in exploring new approaches with the aim of enhancing Taiwan’s status as a financial-services center. It also agreed to a 2016 White Paper request for “double-hatting”: allowing bank personnel to take charge of bond agency and derivative information and advisory functions concurrently.
“The meeting was a great start for the new post-White Paper process, but much still remains in flux,” says AmCham Taipei President Andrea Wu. “We appreciate the Taiwan government’s efforts to actively address our issues, and hope to see early resolution to many of these longstanding challenges.”