Thu, Jun 14, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan firms safe from Vietnam protests: council

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The Council of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam (越南台商總會) yesterday expressed concern over street demonstrations against Vietnam’s draft economic zone laws, but said Taiwanese companies should not worry too much about them.

Ongoing strikes have hit some Taiwanese companies that operate in Vietnam’s Tien Giang Province, council chairman Hsu Yu-lin (許玉林) said in a statement, adding that the protests have affected other southern provinces, including Long An, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh.

The council, which is the largest Taiwanese-founded trade group in Vietnam, has 14 branches and more than 1,500 members there, data showed.

The Vietnamese government had planned to pass a bill that would allow foreign investors to lease land for up to 99 years in three special economic zones, which sparked nationwide protest last weekend amid rising anti-China sentiment, but has since announced that the proposal would be postponed until the October parliamentary session.

Despite the spread of the strike, Taiwanese shoe supplier Pou Chen Corp’s (寶成工業) plant in Ho Chi Minh City has resumed production, the statement said.

Vietnam’s provincial governments have promised to ensure the safety of Taiwanese businesses’ personnel and properties, Hsu said, without elaborating.

The council’s statement came after Pou Chen, the world’s largest branded athletic and casual footwear maker, on Monday said its four plants in Vietnam had to halt production because of the protests.

The company said the strike has not so far had any substantial effect on its operations or finances.

The Taichung-headquartered shoemaker set up production facilities in Dong Nai in 1994 and operates other production bases in Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Ninh and Tien Giang.

Vietnam is Pou Chen’s largest production base, with seven plants contributing about 44 percent of the company’s total sales last quarter, a report by Chinese-language Economic Daily News said.

The company, which has more than 150,000 employees in Vietnam, is considering shifting production to Indonesia and Myanmar to avoid risks, the report said.

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