The government should make sure that the nation has sufficient power supply in its bid to attract China-based Taiwanese companies back home, the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工總) said yesterday.
The trade group, which consists of 159 associations and represents a majority of local manufacturing firms, made the plea in its annual position paper, which reiterated concerns over shortages of electricity, land, water, talent and unskilled labor.
“The government should focus on creating a friendly business environment to help local firms cope with the trade dispute” between the US and China, CNFI chairman William Wong (王文淵) told a news conference.
Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times
Taiwan would remain dependent on China, despite the trade spat, Wong said.
Wong, also the chairman of the nation’s largest industrial conglomerate, Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), said that nuclear power is relatively safe and affordable, and the government should keep it as an alternative while pursuing its goal of achieving a “nuclear-free homeland” by 2025.
Demand for electricity would rise sharply if Taiwanese firms based in China returned home, Wong said.
The government should devise concrete measures to ensure a stable supply of electricity, especially in northern Taiwan, to calm unease among member firms, he said.
Solar and offshore wind energy are at the core of the government’s green energy policy, but they require high installation and maintenance costs, while their electricity generation capacity is limited, he added.
Heavy reliance on natural gas is risky, because the nation has to import the resource and build storage facilities for it, Wong said, adding that natural disasters, such as typhoons, could delay shipments of natural gas and throw the nation’s energy supply into disarray.
Many advanced nations use natural gas as a means of adjustment for nuclear power, he said.
Nuclear tragedies like those in the US, Ukraine and Japan could be prevented, Wong said.
Hsinchu-based Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, alone consumes the electricity generated by an entire nuclear power plant, CNFI vice chairman Matthew Miao (苗豐強) said.
This shows the importance of and need for infrastructure to support the industry, Miao said, adding that the government’s energy policy should be more flexible.
The trade spat might force Taiwanese companies to leave their “comfort zone” in China as the global electronics supply chains realign, he said.
It is not clear whether Taiwan can seize the opportunity and meet the needs of the companies, he said, citing land shortage.
Meanwhile, the CNFI commended National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) for resolving industrial problems through inter-departmental meetings that she has hosted.
Citing the results of a survey of its members, the CNFI said the acceptability of the government’s responses to industrial problems is 74.46 percent, a 12-year high compared with an average of 60 percent in the previous years.
Additional reporting by CNA
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