Taiwan – Extraterritorial jurisdiction
III. The State duty to protect human rights
C. Actions planned
- Administrative measures for outbound investment (page 10)
‘The Taiwan government will continue, on the basis of UNGPs, to initiate discussions regarding the issue of administrative measures for outbound investment as applied to business and human rights, and will also set up an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism at the central government level to study actions taken by other nations, and to discuss the necessity and feasibility of enacting legislation that has binding force overseas in specified fields such as anti-discrimination, labor rights, and environmental preservation in a company’s overseas investment activities.
The aforementioned discussions must also address measures to strengthen regulations, supervisory mechanisms, and other such concrete actions involving Taiwan’s screening of FDI into foreign nations. This must be done in order to ensure that companies’ overseas investment activities do not violate international human rights regulations and standards.’
This information is also covered under Appendix 4: Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, The State duty to protect, UNGP7, Actions planned (pages 46-47).
V. Access to remedy
B. Actions taken
- Judicial remedy
Extraterritorial jurisdiction (page 18)
‘With respect to any human rights abuses that occur overseas, Taiwan already has laws and regulations which provide that such abuses are subject to the jurisdiction of Taiwan’s judicial authorities no matter where the abuses have taken place. For example, if a responsible person or an employee of a company engages overseas in human trafficking, drug dealing, or piracy (as referred to in Article 5 of Taiwan’s “Criminal Code”), or offers a bribe to a public servant from Taiwan or a foreign nation in connection with cross-border trade, investment, or other business activities (as referred to in Article 11 of the “Anti-Corruption Act”), the offense will be subject to the jurisdiction of Taiwan’s judicial authorities regardless whether the offense is punishable or not under the law of the land where the crime is committed.
In addition, the “Regulations Governing the Handling of Companies’ Overseas Investments” provide that when the Taiwan government reviews an investment application, if it discovers that a company has violated the provisions of an international treaty in the course of its overseas investment activities, the application will be rejected. Also, the Taiwan government imposes corporate social responsibility requirements when it grants approval for a company to invest overseas, and at the same time will require the company to abide by the legal requirements of the host jurisdiction.’
This information is also covered under Appendix 4: Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, Access to remedy, UNGP25, Actions taken (pages 53-54).
C. Actions planned
- Strengthening of extraterritorial jurisdiction (pages 20-21)
Cross-border litigation occasionally arises due to: (a) human rights violations or environmental destruction caused in Taiwan by foreign multinational corporations engaged in business activities in Taiwan; or (b) human rights violations or environmental destruction caused overseas by Taiwanese corporations (or by multinational corporations controlled by a Taiwanese corporation) engaged in business activities overseas. With respect to such litigation, our government needs to conduct research on how to provide victims with effective remedy channels. The scope of such research should include, without limitation, the following:
- Study how to enact rules governing Taiwan’s jurisdiction over cross-border litigation, including litigation filed in Taiwan by foreign nationals not domiciled in Taiwan (but note that, in doing so, we must act in line with the principles of substantive fairness, jurisprudence, and procedural economy).
- Study the legality and feasibility of using measures other than fines to deal with the corporate criminal liability of Taiwanese and multinational corporations.
- Multinational corporations often use overseas duty-free countries to establish subsidiaries, so we need to study whether the parent companies of multinational corporations are required to bear joint and several liability for indemnification of aggrieved parties when subsidiaries infringe upon the rights of other parties.
- Cross-border actions for damages are sometimes filed in connection with environmental destruction caused overseas by multinational corporations, so we need to study whether there is a need to amend related laws and regulations (e.g. environmental protection legislation) to provide for an extended period of prescription.
This information is also covered under Appendix 4: Overview of the implementation of the state duty to protect and the access to remedy, Access to remedy, UNGP25, Actions planned (page 54).
Appendix 3: Concrete actions taken by Taiwan to provide effective remedy systems
- Extraterritorial jurisdiction (page 35)
Article 5 of Taiwan’s “Criminal Code” provides that if a company engages overseas in human trafficking, drug dealing, or piracy, the offense will be subject to the relevant provisions of Taiwan’s Criminal Code, and Taiwan’s judicial system has the power to prosecute and punish the offender.
Article 11 of the “Anti-Corruption Act” provides that a public servant who offers (in connection with cross-border trade, investment, or other business activities) to bribe a public servant from Taiwan, the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, or Macao shall bear criminal liability, and the offender will be dealt with according to the provisions of the “Anti-Corruption Act” regardless whether the offense is punishable or not under the law of the land where the crime is committed.
Article 6 of the “Regulations Governing the Handling of Companies’ Overseas Investments” provides that the competent authority may withdraw approval of a company’s overseas investment if the investment: (a) has affected national security; (b) has had an adverse impact on the nation’s economic development; (c) has violated obligations imposed by an international treaty or agreement; (d) has infringed intellectual property rights; (e) has, by violating the Labor Standards Act, caused a major labor-management dispute that remains unresolved; or (f) has tarnished the nation’s image.’