New Taiwanese administration to prioritize net zero, energy, talent in tech policy roadmap

Bryan Chuang, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: Office of the President, ROC

President-elect Lai Ching-te has strongly endorsed policy recommendations regarding addressing talent shortage, achieving net zero emissions, and ensuring energy supply, according to Richard Lee, chairman of the Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (TEEMA).

The policy proposals were presented by TEEMA to the Executive Yuan in 2023. Lee highlighted Lai's expression of agreement during a TEEMA anniversary event held in March, where discussions with Lai underscored Taiwan's robust global presence in the ICT sector.

At the event, Lee emphasized to Lai that Taiwan's ICT industry aims to cater to 30% of the global market demand by 2030, with three-fourths of production by Taiwanese suppliers dispersed worldwide and one-fourth retained domestically. Furthermore, Lee reiterated three policy recommendations that TEEMA had submitted to the Executive Yuan last year to address net zero, energy, and talent challenges.

Taiwanese Premier Chen Chien-jen recently noted that the European Union's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) commenced trial implementation in October 2023, while the US Clean Competition Act (CCA) is set to take effect in 2024 at the earliest. This, coupled with Asian countries progressively establishing carbon trading exchanges, Chen stressed, Taiwan must expedite the implementation of net zero initiatives.

In terms of power supply, under the RE100 initiative, Lai pledged that after taking office his administration will continue to increase investment in renewable energy. Taiwan boasts a total installed renewable energy capacity of 17.9 gigawatts (GW), generating 26.7 billion kWh, roughly 10% of the island's green electricity. As of February 2024, wind and solar power penetration reached an impressive 52.37%, meaning for every two kWh of electricity generated, one comes from a renewable source.

Use of recycled and desalinated water encouraged

To ensure a stable water supply, the government is actively addressing the challenge of inadequate rainfall through strategic water source allocation and backup measures. On the policy front, high-volume water users like TSMC are encouraged to fulfill their corporate social responsibility by progressively increasing their use of recycled water. Additionally, manufacturers will also be required to utilize desalinated seawater in the future to bolster the resilience of Taiwan's water resources.

Addressing the talent shortage, the government has invited companies to collaborate in establishing the "Regional Industry Talent and Technology Cultivation Bases" within the technical and vocational system, alongside the "National Key Fields Research Academy" dedicated to fostering experts at the master's and doctoral levels. Presently, there are 18 regional talent cultivation bases and six semiconductor academies. Universities such as the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University have initiated undergraduate programs in electronics and photonics to expand the pool of technology professionals.

The National Development Council (NDC) has recently introduced the "Taoyuan-Hsinchu-Miaoli Silicon Valley Plan," aiming to bolster investment in talent and education within the western Taiwan technology corridor while enhancing transportation networks and infrastructure. The plan is designed to alleviate congestion in the Hsinchu Science Park and foster regional development.

In addition to TEEMA, many more industry associations serve as crucial channels for businesses to voice their concerns to the government. They include the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association (TSIA), Photonics Industry & Technology Development Association (PIDA), Taiwan Printed Circuit Association (TPCA), Taiwan Display Union Association (TDUA), and Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI).

Tax incentives, water and electricity supply, environmental regulations, industrial land acquisition, talent recruitment, relaxation of migrant worker policies, and stricter controls on trade secrets are all topics frequently discussed by various industry associations. One of the most effective lobbying methods is for these associations to issue "policy white papers" to advocate for desired policy changes from the government.