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Foreign investors upbeat about Taiwan but see room for improvement

Foreign investors upbeat about Taiwan but see room for improvement

Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) Foreign investors are optimistic about Taiwan's vitality and potential for investment, but think some improvements can be made to enhance living conditions for foreign expatriates here, a government agency said Tuesday. On Aug. 29, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) hosted a forum to discuss a plan to build an expatriate-friendly environment with three foreign chambers of commerce -- the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham), the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei.
The three chambers said overall Taiwan has enough incentives both in terms of the living environment and the economy to attract foreigners to work here, but they suggested a number of changes to make life more convenient for foreign nationals, according to the CEPD statement.
Taiwan can compete with other places in the region like Hong Kong and Singapore as regards a comfortable living environment that includes friendly people, social stability, a safe society, convenient transportation and telecom services, the council said, quoting representatives of the chambers. Bill Wiseman, chairman of AmCham, described Taiwan as a great living environment for foreigners because he was positive about the government's efforts to make the country more globalized.
"I think we're very much supportive of the administration in an effort to internationalize education and liberalize immigration policy here," Wiseman told CNA after paying a visit to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng on Tuesday.
"We plan to bring more foreign talent to Taiwan, which is very important for the continued development of the business climate here," he said. "We'd like to see more foreign talent in the market." To highlight its confidence in the Taiwan market despite the global economic downturn, the CEPD said European investors have invested US$30.8 billion in Taiwan as of the end of June, with over US$600 million investments being made in the first half of the year. However, chamber members suggested some improvements in several areas, including residency regulations and education, according to the council's statement. For example, they suggested abolishing the policy that stipulates foreign expatriates must live in the country for at least 183 days per year to keep residency. In addition, they also wanted foreign employees to be covered under the new labor pension system and the ban on working part-time to be relaxed. Addressing the above concerns, the Ministry of the Interior said it has made a proposal to allow foreign expats to keep their permits as long as they enter Taiwan at least once in five years. Education for expatriates' children was another concern raised by the business chambers. They said Taiwan lacks enough schools that meet the needs of foreign expatriates' children. They suggested the government encourage universities in other countries to establish branches or offices in Taiwan to provide them with more schooling choices. The Ministry of Education said it would soon discuss the issue with the National Science Council to open more bilingual classes at schools in the science parks. Moreover, the ministry said it would help local universities launch dual degree programs with their counterparts in other countries. Other discussions on improving the quality of life for foreign expatriates included registration and appointment systems at hospitals and the online booking system for rail travel. CEPD Deputy Minister Wu Ming-ji, who presided over the forum, said creating an environment friendly to foreign expatriates is one of the CEPD's major missions. The council will work to come up with more convenient measures for them and help Taiwan attract more international talents, Wu said. (By Kendra Lin and Jeffrey Wu)


Updated : 2021-10-18 05:34 GMT+08:00