CORONAVIRUS/Foreign business groups welcome Taiwan's plan to end quarantine mandate
Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Business groups representing foreign companies in Taiwan on Thursday welcomed the government's plan to conditionally lift the quarantine mandate for all arriving visitors soon, saying such move would help create more business opportunities between Taiwan and other countries.
Earlier in the day, the Cabinet said it planned to remove the current three-day mandatory quarantine rule for all arrivals, from next month, on the condition that there is no escalation of the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan over the next three weeks.
According to the Cabinet's plan, starting Oct. 13, arriving travelers will need only to observe seven days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention."
Currently, all travelers are required to quarantine for three days on arrival in Taiwan, then observe four days of "self-initiated epidemic prevention," during which individuals are allowed to go out, provided that they first take a rapid test and obtain a negative result.
Asked to comment on the government's new plans, the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (BCC Taipei) told CNA it was "a very welcome and positive step forward."
"We anticipate that many business travelers will now seize the opportunity to solidify plans to visit Taiwan to progress the fantastic commercial opportunities that exist in the market here," said BCC Taipei, which represents more than 100 British and international companies in Taiwan.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan (AmCham Taiwan), meanwhile, said it had been calling for the full reopening of Taiwan's borders, and it warmly welcomed the policy updates announced Thursday by the Taiwan government.
In addition to the plan to lift the quarantine rule, the government is also poised to open up Taiwan again to all visitors, starting on Sept. 29 with those who are eligible for visa-free entry, and including all travelers by Oct. 13, if the COVID-19 situation in the country does not escalate.
AmCham Taiwan said it thinks prompt execution of the fullest measures outlined by the Taiwan government is important.
"The challenging geo-political context has added urgency beyond an already strong economic, social and business case for opening," AmCham Taiwan said.
The German Trade Office (GTO) Taipei also told CNA that the German industry "is looking forward" to the removal of the quarantine mandate.
It "will lead to many new business opportunities and joint Taiwanese-German projects," said the GTO, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.
Reopening the borders to allow unrestricted travel to Taiwan is "essential" for exchanges between German companies and their Taiwanese partners, the office said.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry France Taiwan (CCIFT), which represents French companies in Taiwan, expressed similar views and noted that Taiwan is one of a few countries that maintain a quarantine mandate despite a high vaccination rate.
CCIFT General Manager Stéphane Peden told CNA he was "really pleased" to hear of the Taiwan's government's plan to scrap the quarantine rule.
"A lot of business travelers and investors are waiting for this, in order to come back [to Taiwan] for business," he said.
If the plan is implemented, Peden said, it will be "a real benefit to the economy."
Similarly, Felipe Montero, head of Northland Power Inc.'s Taiwan office and director of the Hai Long offshore wind farm project in Changhua County, told CNA he was "very happy" about Taiwan's planned revision of its entry regulations.
He said Taiwan's current quarantine rules pose "a major obstruction" for companies in his industry that usually send foreign workers to Taiwan.
"A lot of travelling in and out of Taiwan wasn't happening because of the quarantine requirements," he said.
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