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Cablegate: Taiwan's Epa Narrows Scope of Draft Packaging

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003242

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/RSP/TC AND OES/IHA

STATE PLEASE PASS TO AIT/W, USEPA AND USTR

USTR FOR KI, USEPA FOR OIA/THOMPSON

USDOC FOR 4431/ITA/MAC/AP/OPB/TAIWAN/MBMORGAN
USDOC FOR 3132/USFCS/OIO/EAP/ABACHER/ADESARRAN
USDA/FAS/ITP/MEYER, FARINA
USDA FAS FOR ITP/AAD
USDA FAS FOR CMP/GFD, COTS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON SENV TW ESTH
SUBJECT: TAIWAN'S EPA NARROWS SCOPE OF DRAFT PACKAGING
RULE; AIT PROMOTES BIOPLASTICS AND BIOFUELS


A) TAIPEI 03145 B) TAIPEI 02673 C) TAIPEI 03180

1. Summary. In July 2004, Taiwan's Environmental Protection
Administration (TEPA) introduced a draft rule to limit
excessive packaging. In response to industry opposition to
the rule, TEPA issued a second revised draft of the rule on
October 12. The second draft is much narrower in scope than
the original. Instead of covering a wide variety of
products, the revised rule primarily focuses on limiting the
packaging of computer software and gifts. While TEPA
initially planned on closing the comment period in October,
AIT persuaded TEPA to extend the comment period through the
end of November. When meeting with TEPA, AIT AGOFF also
urged EPA to support the increased use of environmentally
friendly technologies such as bioplastics, biofuels and soy
ink. End Summary.

Background
----------

2. As reported in Refs A and B, TEPA is eager to pass
regulations to reduce excessive packaging of goods in order
to reduce waste and move Taiwan towards its ultimate goal of
complete recycling and zero waste by 2020. Initially TEPA
was hoping to pass the rule by September 2004. However, in
part due to the strong negative reaction of foreign industry
reported in reftel B, TEPA has redrafted the rule and
postponed its time-line for implementation.

Second Draft Narrows Scope
--------------------------

3. The new draft of the rule has significantly narrowed the
scope of the rule. Now, instead of ultimately applying to
all confectionary items, cosmetics, optical disks, alcohol
products and processed foods, the rule only applies to
computer software and gift-packaged confectionary items,
cosmetics, optical disks and processed foods. Under the
second draft, non-gift packaged confectionary items,
cosmetics, optical disks and processed foods would no longer
be subject to regulation.

TEPA Extends Comment Period
---------------------------

4. Econ, Ag and Commercial Officers met with Yang Ching-
shi, Deputy Director General of the Department of Waste
Management on October 15. While Yang initially planned on
closing the comment period within a week or two, the AIT
delegation persuaded Yang to allow foreign business
interests to submit comments through the end of November,
and then to send the draft rule to the WTO for comment. AIT
also persuaded TEPA to include an English translation of the
rule on its web site by Friday October 22. Yang estimated
that the rule would only be promulgated by early 2005 at the
soonest. AIT has notified the American Chamber of Commerce
of the new draft and of the November deadline for comment.

AIT Promotes Bioplastics and Biofuels
-------------------------------------

5. AIT AGOFF took the opportunity to also promote the use
of bioplastics and biofuels, both of which have strong
environmental benefits and could significantly increase the
demand for U.S. soybeans and corn (Ref C). AGOFF noted USDA
and USEPA joint interest in sending an AIT delegation to
Taipei to provide technical assistance with respect to
bioplastics and biofuels. AGOFF also urged TEPA to support
the removal of a 2.5 percent import duty on corn-based
polylactic acid (PLA), which has negatively impacted the
competitiveness of bioplastics. Yang appeared interested in
hosting an AIT delegation on bioplastics and biofuels. Yang
also stated he supported the principle of eliminating the
import duty on PLA, but noted TEPA has no authority with
regard to issues of taxation. AIT/AGR is currently drafting
a letter to TECRO requesting the removal of the PLA duty.

Paal

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