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Cabinet acknowledges AIT comments on rental car draft amendment

2019/04/25 21:42:41

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka / CNA file photo

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Taiwan's Executive Yuan said Thursday that it welcomes comments from all sectors on a proposed draft amendment that will change the rules governing rental car service providers like Uber during a 60-day public comment period.

The Cabinet was responding to comments by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on the draft amendment to the Automobile Transportation Management Regulations that noted the proposed changes could be considered unfriendly to foreign investment.

The AIT issued the "official comments" last Friday, voicing its concern that draft amendment Article 103-1 to be added to the automobile transportation regulations issued by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) could "jeopardize Taiwan's reputation as a safe place to invest and innovate."

Observing that a "predictable and transparent regulatory environment is critical" to attract foreign investment, AIT said the draft amendment could undermine Taiwan as a regional hub for startups and an environment to build an innovative ecosystem.

The AIT further said it is troubled that the amendment requires rental car drivers using app-based transportation services to return to their place of business after completing each journey and to adopt a minimum one-hour rental model.

"It is our understanding that these requirements would dramatically reduce the viability and utility of this service for Taiwan consumers and would thereby constitute a de facto prohibition on app-based transportation businesses offering services in Taiwan," AIT said.

Without naming a particular company in its comments, AIT said "one app-based transportation service provider -- a U.S. company -- offering service at a significant scale in Taiwan," has informed them that the amendment would make it "impossible" for them and similar services to operate profitably in Taiwan.

The company mentioned is believed to be ride-hailing service Uber.

AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour said Taiwan law allows for a 60-day public comment period on draft laws and regulations, and the AIT from time to time submits comments from U.S. government agencies through these mechanisms.

Likewise, United States law also allows for a public comment period on draft regulations, during which Taiwan entities have the opportunity to submit comments, she said.

Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said the Executive Yuan thanks AIT for its comments in accordance with the statutory procedures as such input reflects the legislative process in a democratic society.

The Executive Yuan welcomes the comments and it is confident the MOTC will carefully review them before finalizing a version of the amended rules, she added.

(By Ku Chuan and William Yen)
Enditem/AW