Taiwan: Cabinet approves draft law revision to allow online alcohol sales
By Tai Ya-chen and Elizabeth Hsu
April 28, 2016
Taipei, April 28 (CNA) The Cabinet gave a green light Thursday to a law amendment proposal allowing the online sale of alcohol.
Premier Simon Chang (張善政) said the proposed amendment to the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act comes at the time when online services are becoming more and more convenient to use and people are spending an increasing amount of time surfing the Internet.
The government hopes that the convenient nature of shopping online will gradually bring it on par with shopping in the real world, Chang said, explaining the reason for the plan to allow the online sale of alcoholic beverages.
Chang said he does not believe the move to open the online market for the sale of alcohol will boost alcohol consumption in society. “The draft amendments to the act have strict rules on the verification of the buyer’s identity and age,” he said.
Also, he went on, with the assistance of big data technologies, analysis can be conducted on the shopping behavior of alcohol buyers and the relevant data in the future, if necessary, as part of efforts to prevent alcohol abuse.
According to the amendments drafted by the Ministry of Finance, online alcohol vendors must have an effective mechanism for confirming the identity and age of buyers. The selling party is also obliged to publish clear instructions for payment and delivery, and to post warning signs against violations.
Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) told the press that businesses must register with the relevant authorities and will require a permit to become an online alcohol vendor.
The amended law will stipulate that deliveries must be done at convenience stores, and those performing deliveries must be able to recognize the age of the recipients. Also, the recipients must pay via credit card to prove they are adults, the official said.
The draft amendments will allow punishments for those found selling alcohol to minors that are five times heavier than the existing ones, he continued.
Fines will be increased from NT$10,000 (US$301) to up to NT$250,000, and severe violators will be stripped of their business registration and barred from applying for re-registration within one year, he noted.
The amendment proposal will be submitted to the Legislature