Wed, Sep 04, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Machine firms seek aid as orders slump due to trade dispute

By Kwan Shin-han  /  Staff reporter

Small businesses in the nation’s machine industry need help as the pace of orders slows and the amount of unpaid leave increases. the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI, 台灣機械工業同業公會) and Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA, 台灣區工具機暨零組件工業同業公會) said yesterday, urging the government to allocate funds from the Employment Stability Fund.

“As the US-China trade dispute intensifies, clients have remained conservative and orders have significantly declined, which has led to increases of annual or unpaid leave for domestic machinery and machine tool companies,” a TMBA official quoted secretary-general Carl Huang (黃建中) as saying in a meeting in Taipei.

“The Ministry of Labor should be more flexible in using the fund to assist small to medium-sized companies who are suffering from the trade dispute, because they cannot not secure transfered orders like their larger peers,” Huang was quoted as sying.

Huang was quoted as thanking the Ministry of Economic Affairs for requesting that state-owned companies to purchase machinery from local firms, but adding that the purchases are just a drop in the ocean as the business environment remains particularly harsh.

The Employment Stability Fund, which receives more than NT$10 billion (US$318.15 million) a year, is funded by local companies, who are required to pay NT$2,000 a month per migrant worker, the Chinese-language Liberty Times (sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported yesterday, quoting TAMI secretary-general Wang Cheng-ching (王正青).

“The government should use the fund to maintain social stability,” Wang told the newspaper. “With a subsidy, workers can at least receive an allowance and join training programs.”

In a bid to help local companies, the Industrial Development Bureau on Monday said in a statement that it had asked the Ministry of Finance to provide preferential mortgages and loan extensions.

The bureau expects the return of overseas Taiwanese companies and continued purchases by state-owned companies to help local machine tool and machinery businesses, it said.

The bureau has been assisting local companies obtain domestic orders, such as replacing old equipment at public schools, it said, adding that about NT$21.72 billion of business opportunities have been created for local machinery and machine tool companies.

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