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Gov't to ease rules on investment from China

Taiwan is looking to further relax restrictions on investments from China, Economic Minister Shih Yen-shiang said yesterday.

The manufacturing sector is already 98 percent open to investments from China, while the service sector is 50 percent open, Shih said.

“The extent is not expected to be too small,” Shih said while commenting on how much further the service sector will be opened to China investors.

Shih was speaking at a Cabinet press conference shortly after President Ma Ying-jeou's National Day address where he promised a major change to policies governing foreign investment.

The president said that in terms of foreign investment, “in the future, liberalized policies will become the norm, and barriers the exception.”

Shih noted that the restrictions will continue to ease. The government will see if there is room for a further relaxing of restrictions on investments from foreign and overseas Chinese investors, as well as those from across the Taiwan Strait, the minister said.

He pointed out that rules governing foreign and overseas Chinese investors are different from those concerning investors from mainland China.

The former currently require governmental approval for investments, but the government is seeking to change related procedures, requiring only a notification to the authorities after the investments are made, Shih said.

The Cabinet has already been discussing related regulations, but these regulations do not set clear restrictions for such a notification process, Shih said.

Related government bodies will be authorized to handle the process, but the restrictions will be “as few as possible,” he added.

With regard to investments from China, investors must receive approval, but the government will follow the president's latest instructions and open the doors “as wide as possible” as long as national security and local employment are not affected, Shih said.

Although 98 percent of the manufacturing sector has been opened to investments from China, there are still restrictions, the minister said.

He noted that investors from China are not allowed to have control over a company in the manufacturing sector and their share must not exceed 50 percent.

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