Thu, Apr 24, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Ministry mulls ban on Tsingtao

BREW BROUHAHA The minister of finance says officials will study whether to bar the popular Chinese beer in accordance with the demands of some DPP lawmakers

DPA , TAIPEI

The government is considering prohibiting the sales of Tsingtao beer from China, two days after it stopped the local agent of the Chinese brewery from running ads on local radio and television stations, officials said yesterday.

"I have asked the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp [TTL, 台灣菸酒公司] and relevant departments to study whether to allow the sales of Tsingtao beer in Taiwan," Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said.

His comment came after demand by DPP lawmakers that the ministry ban sales of the beer in retaliation of Beijing's barring Taiwan from marketing its popular Taiwan Beer in China under its original brand name.

"Our application for the marketing of Taiwan Beer has twice been rejected by Chinese authorities," DPP Legislator Lin Chung-mao (林重謨) said.

The board has only been allowed to market its popular beer under the name TTL since it started selling the beer in China last year.

Lin Chung-mao said China has also banned the sales of Kinmen Kaoliang liquor and these actions show that Chinese authorities will not allow the sales of Taiwanese products with Taiwan in their name.

"It is highly unfair for us to agree to the import of mainland beers with Chinese areas' titles, such as Tsingtao Beer and Yenjing Beer," the lawmaker said.

The lawmaker asked that the TTL resolves the issue by next month or he would initiate a motion to sack the company's chairman Morgan Huang (黃營杉) and director Thomas Lai (賴木山).

Minister Lin said it is China's law that no territorial titles can be used to name products imported to China and there is little the ministry can do to make Beijing change its law.

He said under the circumstances, he would ask government officials to study the possibility of barring Tsingtao Beer from being marketed domestically.

The Government Information Office has recently banned Tsingtao Brewery from making TV and radio commercials on the ground that the Legislative Yuan has yet to pass the revision of the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area(台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) which requires prior regulatory approval for any ads broadcasting Chinese products.

The brewery's local agent, Taiwan Tsing Beer Corp (台灣青啤), cried foul, saying the ad ban was related to Beijing's rejection of the marketing of Taiwan Beer. Taiwan Tsing Beer is a unit of Taiwan-based Sanyo Whisbih Group (三洋維士比).

Since it entered the Taiwanese market last year, Tsingtao Beer has gained about 10 percent of the beer market, earning NT$2 billion (US$57.14 million).

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