Taiwan Legal Update: Taiwan and Nauru sign MLA Treaty & EPA Ban on Mercury Imports and Exports

WEEKY NEWS PICTURE (TW)

Taiwan Legal Update: Taiwan and Nauru sign MLA Treaty & EPA Ban on Mercury Imports and Exports

Taiwan and the Republic of Nauru sign a Mutual Assistance Treaty on August 7, 2019

International mutual legal assistance treaties and agreements assist Taiwanese procuratorates to fight crime. On August 7th, 2019, the Minister of Justice of the Ministry of Justice announced the signing of the “The Republic of China (Taiwan) Government and the Republic of Nauru Criminal Mutual Assistance treaty". This marks the sixth criminal mutual legal assistance treaty signed by Taiwan; others include Poland, South Africa and the U.S. This is also the second treaty approved by the Ministry in the past two months.

Concluding two years of consultations, both parties reached a consensus on the joint efforts of the Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwanese Embassy in Nauru. After it’s ratification, Taiwan and Nauru will be able to collaborate in criminal investigations, prosecutions, court trials and crime prevention efforts.

 

Scope:

 

  1. Obtaining testimonies or confessions;
  2. Providing documentary evidence;
  3. Confirming the location and identity of the person concerned;
  4. Performing searches and seizures;
  5. Assisting in freezing, seizing and executing fines;
  6. Any other assistance per the law of the requested State;
  7. Use of video interrogations;

 

Furthermore, the requesting party may be present for the witness/ defendant statement, allowing case handlers to form a substantive Joint Investigation Team. Both parties have also expressed the benefits of science in tackling cross-border crimes.  The use of science and technology greatly reduces the time and labor required for cross-border evidence acquisition and improves the overall efficiency of a criminal investigation. According to the Ministry of Justice (Taiwan), judiciary and law enforcement agencies will be able to establish direct and rapid links to effectively curb cross-border crimes such as drug trafficking and telecom fraud in the Pacific region.

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Taiwan To Ban Imports and Exports of Products Containing Mercury

On Wednesday, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restated its plans to further restrict imports and exports of products containing mercury, including mercury thermometers and tubes. This marks the largest step towards limiting mercury supplies for environmental protection and constitutes a progression from the 2017 ban on the production of mercury products, according to the head of the EPA’s Toxins and Chemical Substances Bureau.  These changes we will comply with the Minamata Convention on 31 December 2020, unless the convention is subsequently updated. Under Article 4 of the convention, all signatories agree to ban the manufacturing, importing and exporting of “mercury-added products".  As Taiwan cannot formally ratify this convention, they have incorporated the following changes into domestic law:

  • A ban on the manufacture of various mercury-added products listed in Annex A of the convention. This includes batteries, switches and relays, fluorescent lamps, mercury vapor lamps and various measuring devices such as barometers, thermometers and blood pressure monitors. It is important to note that these bans will be effective except in circumstances where no feasible mercury-free alternative for replacement is available. This is effective on 1st January 2021;

 

  • The use of mercury to manufacture mercury-added products will no longer be permitted. There is an exemption for the manufacture of calibration instruments, in line with exclusions listed in Annex A of the convention.  This will be effective by 31st December 2020.

 

The EPA will have also stated that they require manufacturers and importers who use 106 listed chemical substances to register with the government.

 

EPA chief also highlighted that the chemical industry was a key contributor to early periods of Taiwan’s economic development. Nonetheless, the potential environmental damage was a key consideration in the ratification of the convention.

 

To further counter this form of pollution, the EPA co-operated with other relevant government agencies, such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to formulate measures to strengthen pollution controls. The challenges and opportunities facing the environment require a global effort and this is will form part of the foundation for long-term mutual exchange and cooperation.

 

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