The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan yesterday released its annual position paper, calling on the government to further relax labor rules and liberalize the energy market.
“While the world has grown increasingly volatile, uncertain and complex, social trends and advances in technology are opening up new golden opportunities,” chamber chairman Giuseppe Izzo said at the release of the paper.
Taiwan lacks skilled and unskilled workers, and the shortage is weighing down its ability to capitalize on economic opportunities, the paper said.
The trade group recommended further labor law reforms to develop, attract and retain talent to address the issue.
Further flexibility is needed in work hour rules, and the wind energy sector in particular should be included in the list of industries that are exempted from observing the weekly regular leave day requirement so that work schedules could meet the requirements for offshore construction work, it said.
The chamber also called for less stringent visa requirements for foreign professionals, allowing more foreign employees in the service sector and improving the protection of foreign workers.
Transitioning from fossil fuels to low or zero-emission alternatives is crucial to address climate change and represents a golden opportunity for Taiwan given its perfect conditions to tap into abundant alternative energy sources, the chamber said.
However, more needs to be done to promote renewable energy, including deregulating the energy market to allow multiple business models for the installation, sales and use of electricity generated from renewable energy sources, the group said.
The chamber called for increased public investment in grid infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy capacity.
It also called for changes to standard power purchase agreements signed between Taiwan Power Co (台電) and wind developers, as well as to administrative contracts between wind developers and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to deal with curtailments in the event of delays in ensuring grid connections.
The group called for the opening of coastal areas, highways, railways, harbors and industrial parks to the installation of onshore wind turbines and urged new repowering rules to allow developers to replace old turbines without repeatedly having to go through the approval processes.
Authorities have deviated from international standards and best practices, which is hampering the ability of the electrical engineering and equipment industry to upgrade to products and services that are safer and of a higher quality, the chamber said.
There also remain instances of a lack of transparency as well as inconsistencies in the implementation of regulations and procedures, it said, referring to different levels of commodity taxes on products.