Tue, Feb 01, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Businesses call for lifting of China investment bans

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Although the government is striving to paint a rosy economic picture to attract foreign investment -- or stop local investment from flowing overseas -- the efforts seem to have failed to convince businesspeople.

"The government has shown us optimistic figures and measures toward globalization, but deep down, I don't know if the government knows what globalization is," Douglas Hsu (徐旭東), chairman of the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), said during a seminar held by Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association yesterday.

The government has banned certain industries from investing in China.

Companies are always seeking low-cost raw materials, labor and larger markets, and these are the advantages China offers, Hsu said.

The next speaker, Wu Rong-i (吳榮義), said Taiwan should improve regional economic integration by signing free trade agreements with major trading partners, or through the mechanism of the WTO. Wu said deregulating outbound investments might cause capital to flow to China or pose a threat to national security.

But it seems the government is losing ground on the issue.

A group of company officials led by Sidney Chow (周新懷), chairman of the Petrochemical Industry Association of Taiwan (台灣石化公會), visited Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-Yueh (何美玥) yesterday. The association hopes the ministry will allow local firms to establish naphtha crackers in China, as major players have already established plants there.

"We will lose competitiveness if we lag behind the trend," Chow said.

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