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NSB to expand role to better monitor China services firms

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The National Security Bureau (NSB) Monday sought to allay worries about opening Taiwan's service market to China by announcing plans to regulate and monitor Chinese companies and individuals that pose a potential security risk.

The cross-strait trade-in-services agreement will remove many barriers for Chinese services providers to set up companies and offices in Taiwan, but concerns remain that some of them could be covert spies for Beijing, the bureau said in a report to the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee.

An increase in the inflow of personnel from across the Taiwan Strait will therefore pose a challenge to national security, the bureau admitted, but it said it is working on a regulatory mechanism targeting “major, specific” individuals and organizations.

The NSB said it has also conducted an item-by-item review of security-related issues of 64 business categories that Taiwan is preparing to open to China pending the enactment of the service trade pact.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said in a separate report that the NSB officially joined the Investment Commission responsible for reviewing foreign and Chinese investment projects on April 11, a move aimed at strengthening the management of such projects.

The change allows NSB officials to participate in the review of all investments regardless of their nature and size, according to Vice Economics Minister Cho Shih-chao.

Before that, investment plans would be sent to the NSB for review only when it involved Chinese investors or when the NSB's participation was deemed necessary, Cho said.

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