Fri, Aug 18, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Minister sympathetic on cross-strait chip investment

NOT WELCOMEThe president of a peek industry body said that business hopes that the government will keep out of its affairs, and lift the ceiling on China investment

CNA , TAIPEI

Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday that the key to allowing local companies using 0.18 micron process technology to invest in China is implementing the proper complementary measures.

Chen made the remarks one day after Morris Chang (張忠謀), founder and chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), urged the government to allow local chip makers to set up factories in China using the advanced 0.18 micron process technology.

On Wednesday, Chang told the Taipei-based business group the Third Wednesday Club (三三會) that the government's liberalization on this technology ban will not be detrimental to Taiwan's high-technology industry but will instead help sharpen companies' international competitiveness.

TSMC, the world's largest made-to-order chipmaker, is the only local producer that has obtained the government's approval to set up a fabrication facility in China. TSMC gained approval in 2004 to build one factory using the 0.25-micron processing technology in Shanghai.

"The ministry fully understands the stance of TSMC, " Chen said, adding that the ministry's position is "similar to that of industry and that the opening is only a question of timing."

The ministry will convene a meeting with the Investment Commission for further discussions on the matter and will hold consultations with the Mainland Affairs Council, the nation's top agency for China policy, Chen said.

"Whatever the final decision on the matter is, the most important thing is working out good complementary measures," he stressed.

Meanwhile, Theodore Huang (黃茂雄), president of the influential Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce (工商協進會), said that business hopes that the government will keep its interference in their affairs to a minimum. He was referring to the present 40 percent ceiling on local businesses investing in China.

Huang made the remarks after paying a visit to Chen to congratulate him on assuming his new post last week and to get a better understanding of his views on trade and economic policy.

Huang said that the attitude of the business sector is clear, namely that the government should reduce its interference to a minimum and adopt an "active opening" policy toward cross-strait economic and trade affairs instead of the "active management" policy advocated by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) earlier this year.

Huang said that local businesses make decisions on whether to invest in China based on economic efficiency and not politics.

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