Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Government looks to invest US$3.3bn in petrochemicals

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is planning 20 investment projects in the petrochemicals industry this year as part of government efforts to upgrade the value of the sector, a spokesman said yesterday.

The total value of the investments will be about NT$100 billion, (US$3.3 billion), a spokesman for the ministry’s High-Value Petrochemical Industry Promotion Office said.

Apart from that investment, the office also plans to establish at least three centers for research and development in the petrochemicals field, the spokesman said.

The office was founded on Dec. 31 last year to manage the transformation of the petrochemicals industry into a high-value manufacturing sector.

The industry, one of the pillars of the industrial sector, generated NT$1.9 trillion last year and recorded annual growth of 4.7 percent, according to statistics from the Industrial Technology Research Institute.

However, the sector’s development hit a snag when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) announced in April last year that the government would not support a controversial project to build a new petrochemicals complex in Chang-hua County. At the time, Ma advised that the sector should be upgraded to achieve high-value production.

On Monday, the ministry reported that national industrial production fell 2.44 percent last month from a year earlier and 5.23 percent from the previous month, which Barclays PLC said yesterday was partly attributable to persistent supply disruptions and weak external demand in the petrochemicals sector.

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