A Briefing from the Economics Minister

Regular meetings promised on relevant AmCham issues.

Of the various ministries under Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is the one responsible for the broadest range of activity relevant to AmCham Taipei. Its various agencies and departments deal with such matters as intellectual property rights, industrial development, trade policy, energy policy, investment approvals, and assistance to existing investors.

Last month Minister Shen Jong-chin, accompanied by key officials from the Ministry’s subordinate organizations, called at AmCham to brief members of the Chamber leadership on the status of 2018 Taiwan White Paper issues related to areas under MOEA’s jurisdiction. It was the first opportunity for AmCham to meet with Shen, who took office last September after previously serving in such posts as Deputy MOEA Minister and Director-General of the Industrial Development Bureau. An electrical engineer by training, Shen holds a Master’s degree from the Graduate Institute of Commerce Automation and Management at the National Taipei University of Technology.

The Minister’s one-hour briefing covered the following topics:

  • Energy policy. In the White Paper, the Energy Committee expressed concern about Taiwan’s ability to maintain the sufficiency, stability, and cost-effectiveness of the power supply as Taiwan transforms to an energy mix that eliminates nuclear power generation by 2025. Shen reiterated the government’s assurances on that score, outlining the plans for additional generating capacity as well as caps on any price increases for users.
  • Copyright piracy by overseas websites. The Minister noted that the government is seeking to crack down on violators through international cooperation and reducing infringing websites’ access to advertising revenue, but is reluctant to engage in site blocking in the absence of a firm legal basis and public consensus.
  • Copyright Law amendments. MOEA has been consulting with stakeholders on ways to protect Over-the-Top (OTT) service providers against infringement by illegal apps and websites, Shen said. It will also work with the National Communications Commission and Ministry of Education on additional ways to curb the growing volume of violations carried out by means of illegal streaming mobile apps and front-loaded set-top boxes.
  • Compensation for damages for violations of the Copyright Act. The Intellectual Property & Licensing Committee suggested in the White Paper that the minimum compensation be raised to NT$30,000 per infringement for situations where the actual damage is difficult to prove. MOEA has decided to keep the minimum at the current NT$10,000, Shen reported.
  • Enhancing Taiwan’s startup ecosystem. The Minister described MOEA’s efforts to liberalize restrictions on the types of permissible company shareholdings. It has also been cooperating with the National Development Fund to provide more incentives for venture capital firms to be active in this market.
  • Expanding facilities for conferences and exhibitions. The scheduled opening next March of Hall 2 of the Nangang Exhibition Center will greatly enhance Taiwan’s capability in this field, Shen said.
  • Treatment of investment applications from private equity (PE) firms. The Minister stressed that these investments are welcome and not considered any differently from other applications.

Minister Shen offered to meet with AmCham regularly in the future to discuss these and any other pertinent issues in more detail.