Free Trade Port Areas / 自由貿易港區
In the middle of July, the Legislative Yuan passed the third-reading of a bill of "Management Regulations for the Free Trade Port Areas." This symbolizes the process of easing customs clearance in the free trade ports and will make things easier for businessmen from other countries thus promoting Taiwan's international competitiveness and beginning to build a global management center. With transport connections around the nation and having an airport and a seaport, Kaohsiung has the most qualification and opportunity to be at the center of these developments.
At Kaohsiung Port, according to the Management Regulations of the Free Trade Port Areas, funds, workers, skills, manufactures come together on the piers; and materials from all over the world will be turned into finished products. The procedures of storage, assemblage, re-arranging, and packaging will be solved efficiently all together. Commodities will be quickly shipped out into the world with none of the problems such as examining, coming in and going of the customs, and imposition of customs duty. The costs of factories and of time will decrease and the ability to compete will increase. The area is therefore positioned as at once "within the border without custom." Kaohsiung Port is becoming a special port area for free trade.
"Management Regulations for the Free Trade Port Areas" mainly includes: setting up the committee for negotiating in the port area and a unit for port management; scheduling the conditions and processes of the port area; cooperating with the professional control of the unit for port management with different administrative units; bringing commodities in and out of customs clearance in port area; imposing a zero business tax; adding tax for commodities changing into other functions; making easier the process of admitting businessmen from other countries; stipulating punishments for disobeying the regulations related to autonomous management, etc.
In the future, the Free Trade Port Area will use the method of risk management to replace most of the checking of declarations at customs clearance. In the area, besides the simple and convenient processes such as assembling, repairing, etc, we will proceed with serious manufacture producing added value and make the various administrative procedures simpler. The Free Port Area will offer its service through one multi-functioned and professionally-staffed window.
Mayor Hsieh pointed out that after passing the management regulations, Kaohsiung city government is planning to apply them enthusiastically. The reason is: Taiwan's export processing zone is located in Kaohsiung city. Currently, most of work is only that of transiting. We had offered much land but achieved very little benefit. The Management Regulations for the Free Trade Port Areas will be very much helpful in enriching our processing. Thus the values of our products and our profits will much improve and meantime increase Kaohsiung's and Taiwan's competitiveness on the international stage.
Mayor Hsieh also suggested that, following the management regulations, we should make by-laws in order to make the whole thing more complete and efficient. Before making such by-laws, Kaohsiung city government will apply by following the usual procedures. We hope to be able to apply in the autumn.
Kaohsiung Maritime and Harbor Bureau also plans two phases of taking over the management of the free trade port areas. The first phase is to manage five container centers in the port areas and expand the size to 360.5 hectares in order to cater for large-sized airline companies at home and abroad. The first period will be complete by the end of the year. The second period is to develop sundry centers and expand their size into 155.21 hectares, including five centers and piers for the loading and unloading of petrochemicals. This plan should be complete by the end of 2005. In the future, as a further development, we will hope to create a commercial function of port containers, attract business back to Taiwan, and create more job opportunities.