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Taiwan urged to liberalize its financial services sector (update)

2014/01/15 21:08:01

Taipei, Jan. 15 (CNA) Taiwan should loosen the restrictions in its financial services sector as the "regulatory regime is very constraining at the moment," a visiting British official said Wednesday.

"The first step is to liberalize the financial service sector, and to phase out the dual approach of onshore and offshore, which actually other financial service centers don't have," said Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of the City of London.

She said that the way products and services are regulated, for example, is not very efficient.

"It is very unusual for regulators to license products one at a time in great detail," Woolf said.

With such a time-consuming process, products may miss the most opportune time to enter the market, she said.

In addition, Taiwan has not developed its capability as an offshore center with really good products and services, she said, noting that the current regulations are constraining banks that want to provide services or put money into Taiwan.

Taiwan provides a route to China, and can serve as "a particularly attractive alternative to Hong Kong," Woolf said.

Woolf is on a two-day trip in Taiwan as part of the British government's efforts to enhance trade cooperation between the two countries, especially to expand offshore yuan-denominated business.

Taiwan should make use of its large yuan deposits of up to 100 billion yuan, while the U.K. can provide a lot of financial service products, Woolf said.

She has been meeting with key political figures and business leaders in Taiwan, hoping to make progress this year on major infrastructure projects to help boost trade between Taiwan and the U.K.

The Lord Mayor of London is an apolitical and unpaid position and the legal title of the head of the City of London Corp.

Elected last November, Woolf is the second woman to hold the post since 1189. Her major duties include promoting London's business environment and expertise.

(By James Lee)