Regulators give OK for joint TWTC hall redevelopment

The China Post news staff

Financial regulators have relaxed the rules to let insurance firms take part in a Taipei project to redevelop one of the halls of its trade exhibition center.

The regulators’ reinterpretation of the rules will allow insurance firms to launch a joint bid for the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) redevelopment project. According to the rules, the project allows joint-bidding, with collaborators having to promise to fulfill their legal responsibilities. The rules seemed to be in conflict with the regulations governing the insurance sector, which forbid its players from acting as guarantors. But the city’s financial authorities have determined joint-bidders for the project would only have to vouch for the legal responsibilities pertaining to their respective investments, meaning they would not be guarantors for one another. If the project collapsed, the investors would only have to be held responsible for their respective sums of investments, the authorities said. The new interpretation of the rules has opened the door for insurance firms to invest in low-risk public infrastructure projects not only in Taipei, but other parts of the country. Many major firms have shown interest in the NT$25 billion TWTC project, but none of them seems to be willing fund it alone. The project is to redevelop TWTC’s Hall Two. The winner of the project will have the rights to develop the structure on the land, with the ownership of the plot remaining with the city government.

The bidding process was originally slated to close on April 30, with the winner to be announced by the end of July.

But the city government has postponed the bidding deadline to the end of May as it sought ways to relax the restrictions on investments by insurance firms.