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Taiwan business groups call on government to set up travel bubbles to revive economy

Business travelers currently wishing to visit Taiwan can apply for special entry permit

Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua

Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is mulling looser travel restrictions for businesspeople from countries that successfully managed the coronavirus.

Government officials, including Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) and Economic Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花), on Wednesday (Nov. 4) held a breakfast meeting with representatives from Taiwanese industries and trade associations. Their discussions focused primarily on the possibility of opening travel bubbles for businesspeople from Taiwan and other countries less affected by the pandemic.

Opening travel bubbles requires reciprocal agreements between Taiwan and other countries, Wang pointed out at a post-meeting press conference. She added that it is, therefore, more feasible at the moment for foreigners to apply for special entry permits if they wish to travel to Taiwan for business purposes.

To resume business activities, Taiwan has loosened travel restrictions for short-term business travelers coming from low- and medium-risk countries since June. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has allowed business travelers to shorten their quarantine period from two weeks to five or seven days, depending on the country, once they acquire special permission from the command center.

Taiwan Glass Group Chairman Lin Por-fong (林伯豐), who spoke on behalf of a major trade association, called on the government to establish travel agreements for Taiwanese businesspeople. As it has successfully handled the coronavirus, the government should ink travel agreements with low- and medium- risk countries, Lin said, adding that this would help boost Taiwan's economy.

For business travelers coming to Taiwan, Wang said the ministry will come up with different requirements for various business purposes, including investment, purchasing enterprises, and fulfilling work contracts. The CECC will review applicants’ files based on the urgency and necessity of their trips, their itineraries in Taiwan, and whether they will abide by the nation's disease prevention measures, she said.