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Taiwan urged to be 'more attractive' to foreign investors

2012/08/11 14:50:02

Taipei, Aug. 11 (CNA) Taiwan is a good base for foreign investors, but it should make greater efforts to provide expats with a "more attractive" environment, according to the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT).

The expatriate community in Taiwan is small compared with many other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but Taiwan is generally an attractive base for anyone with operations in East Asia, especially China, ECCT President Chris James told CNA recently.

"Taiwan provides a standard of living, education and health care that equals or exceeds its counterparts," James said.

However, some other counties in the region are more focused on attracting foreign investment, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, while some markets are growing faster, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, making them more attractive to foreign investors, he noted.

Taiwan can become more competitive and attract more foreign investments by speeding up its adoption of international standards as well as making Taiwan a low carbon economy, James said.

The chamber launched a low carbon initiative in Taiwan in mid-June to show its support for the country's goal of reducing carbon emissions.

Taiwan's per-capita carbon emissions are higher than those of Japan, South Korea and China, according to the chamber.

Taiwan could also spur economic activity in low carbon solutions by promoting low carbon products and technologies, James said.

In addition, the chamber also pointed out that Taiwan's Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) is not permanent, as an APRC will be revoked if a person does not stay in Taiwan at least 183 days, starting from the APRC's second year.

The ECCT supports the National Immigration Agency's proposal to ease the restriction, which will allow APRCs to remain valid provided the holder returns to Taiwan at least once within any five-year period, James said.

Lifting the restriction will increase Taiwan's competitiveness, allowing professionals and executives to use Taiwan as a base and travel freely in the region to conduct business, he said.

"And with more professionals operating in Taiwan, this would also be a catalyst for more to come."

The ECCT also said that although Taiwan provides a standard of living, the availability of English and other foreign language channels on cable TV is very poor.

For example, James said the local cable TV company servicing Taipei's upscale Xinyi District, where he lives, produces a limited number of English language channels, compared with cities in Malaysia and Singapore, where he lived previously.

Over the past 12 months, James said he has lost Star World, Universal and Diva Universal TV, which carry many popular English language TV shows, such as "American Idol" and "Law and Order."

"This gives the impression that Taiwan is somehow becoming less cosmopolitan," he said.

(By James Lee)