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Cabinet approves regulations to simplify foreign investment procedures

2019/01/03 23:44:26

Vice Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花)

Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft bill to amend the regulations on investment in Taiwan by foreign nationals and overseas Taiwanese.

The draft amendments seek to simplify the process for the application, screening and approval of foreign investment, according to Chang Ming-pin (張銘斌), executive secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Investment Commission.

Under the draft amendments to the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals and Statute for Investment by Overseas Chinese, advanced approval will no longer be required for investments in Taiwan by people in those two categories, except in special cases, Chang said.

Foreign nationals and overseas Taiwanese will be allowed to invest first and file after, unless the investment is in certain industries or exceeds a certain percentage of the target enterprise's capital, he said.

The proposed threshold for investments without prior approval is US$1 million but that figure is still under discussion by the central bank and relevant government agencies, according to Vice Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花).

Approval will still be required in advance if the potential investors are foreign governments or are from regions that are involved in terrorist activities or subject to United Nations economic sanctions, according to Chang.

Taiwan receives about 3,500 applications per year from foreign investors and overseas Taiwanese, he said, adding that 85 percent of them will be exempt from submitting applications in advance, once the amendment bill clears the Legislature.

The draft amendments also seek to strengthen oversight by the relevant authorities and increase the penalties for illegal investment.

It will allow a fine of NT$240,000 to NT$4.8 million (US$7,764 to US$155,274) on overseas Taiwanese and foreign investors who violate equity investment rules, and may also include suspension of their equity investments for one year.

Potential equity investors that are required to file an application in advance but fail to do so will risk a fine of NT$120,000 to NT$600,000, according to the draft bill.

Those who fail to declare securities investments as required will be subject to a fine of NT$60,000 to NT$300,000 and suspension of their investments and shareholders' rights, the draft bill states.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)