Sat, Mar 23, 2002 - Page 17 News List

More promises on lifting of eight-inch wafer ban

STAFF WRITER

The nation's chipmakers will be allowed to move older eight-inch wafer technology to China once the government's ban is lifted, a senior Ministry of Economic Affairs official said yesterday.

"After establishing `effective management' regulations, [the government will] first consider easing the ban on eight-inch wafer plants with less advanced processing technologies," Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday.

Chen made the remarks yesterday evening following a meeting of the government's 17-member economic task force that is considering a policy to allow chip investment in China.

The task force consisting of industry representatives, government officials and academics urged the Cabinet to complete soon a package of measures to cushion the economic impact if the ban is relaxed, Chen said.

"The administrative agencies should in the shortest time establish an `effective management' mechanism and strictly carry it out," Chen said on behalf of the task force.

According to the ministry, the task force wants to ensure that chipmakers investing in China also invest in advanced 12-inch wafer technology in Taiwan and encourage the flow of capital back to Taiwan.

"Principles for such management should include [capital] controls, comparative investments [across the Strait], research and development in Taiwan and technology controls in line with international regulations," Chen said.

The ministry will take the package of measures drafted by the task force to the Investment Commission on Monday for further review, before turning the proposal over to the Cabinet on Wednesday, where it is expected to be approved.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) have repeatedly called on the government to lift the investment ban so they can keep pace with foreign and Chinese rivals tapping the fast-growing Chinese market.

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