Taiwan’s businessmen seek delay of energy tax hike
A meeting between the government and the business community to iron out energy policy instead saw the private sector complain loudly about the plan to raise energy taxes.
A forum last week to discuss Taiwan's energy policy saw industry leaders urging the government to postpone a plan to raise industry energy taxes. Industry leaders urged a halt to the tax plan to avoid the adverse impact it may have on consumer prices, particularly given the current economic downturn.
Others said the tax proposals should be set aside until a more thorough plan can be devised. They said the government should carefully study other developed countries before finalizing its own version.
A common argument made by businessmen is that Taiwan must not become an economy with high energy costs, which they say will undermine Taiwan’s competitiveness against Japan and South Korea.
Many of them said that energy-related products used as industrial materials such as naphtha should be exempted from the energy tax.
Tsai Lien-sheng, secretary-general of the Chinese National Federation of Industries, said nuclear power should be given a place in Taiwan's energy policy.
Environmentalists, however, are urging the government to introduce the energy consumption tax saying it is a means of developing renewable energy sources.
The Ministry of Finance said the energy taxes are not meant to increase government income. The creation of the tax will take into consideration possible impacts on the competitiveness of industries, the ministry said.
It also pointed out that a consensus has long existed that no energy tax will be levied on energy products that are used as industrial materials.