Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 10 News List

AU Optronics not worried about new emission controls

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the nation's biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels for computers and televisions, said yesterday that the government's new restrictions on hazardous emissions would not place an extra burden on its operations.

"We don't expect to see any impact on AU Optronics," said an official in the company's public relations department who requested not to be named.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Thursday announced a new measure setting stricter emission standards for the optoelectronics industry to address as the nation's LCD producers and manufacturers of related components become more prosperous and prodigious.

Hsinchu-based AU Optronics said it already implemented countermeasures to the new regulations about two or three years ago when the government started drafting the law.

"We follow the international standards, which are much more stringent than those set by the government," AU Optronics said, adding that the company had received an award from the EPA last year for its measures to protect the atmosphere.

AU Optronics now manufactures LCD panels at eight plants and has another manufacturing plant under construction.

In the first 11 months of last year, the company made 27.37 million flat-panel units measuring 10 inches or more.

The government's new rules stipulate that new optoelectronics foundries must be capable of processing at least 85 percent of their waste, while existing plants must process a minimum of 75 percent of their waste.

Manufacturers have been granted a one-year grace period before the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1 next year.

Manufacturers of LCD monitors and related components who fail to meet the requirements could face a fine of up to NT$1 million (US$31,145).

The EPA said that most of Taiwan's optoelectronics manufacturers have been unable to process their emissions of hazardous air pollutants such as hydrofluoric acid and hydrochloric acid in the past, with less than 30 percent of the existing plant operators capable of meeting the government's new requirements.

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