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Foreign investors upbeat on local vitality

TAIPEI--Foreign investors are optimistic about Taiwan's vitality and potential for investment, but think some improvements can be made to enhance living conditions for foreign expatriates here, a government agency said yesterday.

On Aug. 29, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) hosted a forum to discuss a plan to build an expatriate-friendly environment with three foreign chambers of commerce -- the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham), the European Chamber of Commerce Taipei and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Taipei.

The three chambers said overall Taiwan has enough incentives both in terms of the living environment and the economy to attract foreigners to work here, but they suggested a number of changes to make life more convenient for foreign nationals, according to the CEPD statement.

Taiwan can compete with other places in the region like Hong Kong and Singapore as regards a comfortable living environment that includes friendly people, social stability, a safe society, convenient transportation and telecom services, the council said, quoting representatives of the chambers.

Bill Wiseman, chairman of AmCham, described Taiwan as a great living environment for foreigners because he was positive about the government's efforts to make the country more globalized.

“I think we're very much supportive of the administration in an effort to internationalize education and liberalize immigration policy here,” Wiseman told CNA after paying a visit to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng on Tuesday.

“We plan to bring more foreign talent to Taiwan, which is very important for the continued development of the business climate here,” he said. “We'd like to see more foreign talent in the market.”

To highlight its confidence in the Taiwan market despite the global economic downturn, the CEPD said European investors have invested US$30.8 billion in Taiwan as of the end of June, with over US$600 million investments being made in the first half of the year.

However, chamber members suggested some improvements in several areas, including residency regulations and education, according to the council's statement.

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