The third reading of amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, renamed the Climate Change Response Act, passed the Legislative Yuan. The legislation sets a timetable of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and includes provisions to collect carbon tax beginning as soon as 2024.
The third reading of amendments to various articles of the Equalization of Land Rights Act passed the Legislative Yuan. The legislation includes five major measures to curb real estate speculation, including restricting resale of contracts, imposing a maximum fine of NT$50 million (about US$1.6 million) for real estate speculation, adding a reward system for reporting violations, changing to an approval system to review private entities purchasing homes, and restricting transfers within five years.
According to annual demographic figures released by the Ministry of the Interior, the number of newborn babies in 2022 fell below 140,000 reaching only 138,986, the lowest number of births since 1945.
In 2022, a total of NT$450 billion (about US$14.8 billion) in surplus tax revenue was collected. In light of public opinion demanding a cash rebate to the people, the government decided to pay NT$6,000 (about US$198) per person. Former Minister of Finance Su Chien-jung questioned that repaying taxes to the people is a red herring. According to Su, the practice of spending any excess income is tantamount to leaving debt to future generations. The money should be used to repay the overall fiscal deficit.
Chairman Frank Huang of semiconductor foundry Powerchip confirmed for the first time that he will sign a cooperation agreement with India at the request of its government to assist in establishing the first semiconductor fab in the country.
The impact of mainland China's imposing multiple bans on Taiwanese agricultural products in recent years is reflected in Taiwan's latest agricultural trade statistics. In 2022, the export value of agricultural products shrank by 7.8 percent. The agricultural trade deficit also widened to US$15.1 billion last year, a record high.
Furthermore, the value of exports to the mainland dropped by 39.5 percent from the previous year, falling from the first place to the third. Although the value of exports to Japan increased by 10 percent compared to the previous year, rising to the second place, the growth could not make up for the sharp decline in the mainland Chinese market.
The Business Environment Risk Intelligence (BERI) published a profit opportunity recommendation (POR) report assessing global business environment risks. Affected by poorer performance on political risks, Taiwan's investment environment ranked 14th in the world, down eight places from the previous assessment and Taiwan's worst ranking since 1995.
The Legislative Yuan did not adjourn on January 13 as planned by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), disrupting the cabinet reshuffle schedule, and hence giving Premier Su Tseng-chang the very last chance to keep his premiership. As Vice President William Lai is set to become DPP chairman on January 15, Premier Su’s refusal to relinquish power has undoubtedly undermined the reform project initiated by Lai.
In the by-election for chairman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Vice President William Lai, the only candidate, was elected with 41,840 or 99.65 percent of the votes. In a statement, Lai promised to win back the trust of the people. His goal is to unite the entire party, continue to firmly safeguard Taiwan, and promote democracy, peace, and prosperity.