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ROC's new free economic pilot zone to eclipse Shanghai: CEPD

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), Chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD, 經建會) provided a progress report yesterday of the upcoming free economic pilot zone program, stating that Taiwan's endeavor offers a much greater degree of deregulation and free trade incentives than similar pursuits planned in Shanghai.

According to Kuan, as details relating to degrees of deregulation remain murky at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free-Trade Zone, international companies have not been observed making investment commitments past the preliminary registration process. Currently, foreign companies are still barred from operating in numerous industries, including publishing and Web-related sectors.

Kuan emphasized that Taiwan's program provides a higher degree of deregulation and foster an environment conducive to foreign investors, while remarking that numerous Japanese enterprises have expressed interest.

Kuan, however, stated that due to the unconventional design of the program, the free economic pilot zone initiative would not require immense expenditure by the government, and that no special budget would be drawn for the endeavor, while allaying concerns over allocation of public resources. Kuan also outlined a number of measures designed to prevent real estate speculation. Development in the pilot zone will be governed under stringent regulations, said Kuan, adding that land and buildings may not be sold for two years following initial construction or purchase. In addition, buildings and land parcels must conform to their registered use, and if discrepancies are found the property is to be resold to its owner at the original price, concluded Kuan.

In his address, Kuan continued to urge for further deregulation and ease barriers to international commerce in hopes of spurring on economic recovery.

Effective Jan. 22, Kuan will take the chairmanship of the National Development Council (國發會).

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