Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 12 News List

IDB proposes aid for machine tool producers

By Natasha Li  /  Staff reporter

The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) has proposed a NT$60 million (US$1.96 million) plan to help bolster the nation’s machine tool industry amid the headwinds brought by the US-China trade dispute.

“We will provide financial aid to upstream and downstream companies that are looking to innovate and develop new machine tool models,” a bureau official surnamed Chen (陳) said by telephone yesterday.

Companies looking to improve older models can also apply for the financial aid, which will be available by next year, Chen said.

Many of the nation’s machine tool makers are small businesses that are in sore need of help, as the trade dispute deters and delays corporate investments, affecting demand for machinery equipment, he said.

“Taiwan’s machine tool makers last year exported about 76 percent of their total output of NT$158.7 billion [US$5.17 billion at the current exchange rate]” Chen said.

In the first eight months of the year, local machine tool makers saw their exports decline 13.2 percent year-on-year to US$2.19 billion, Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (台灣機械工業同業公會) data showed.

The association has previously called for more government help for the sector.

Following suggestions put forward by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Wednesday, IDB Deputy Director-General Yang Chih-ching (楊志清) yesterday proposed several strategies in a report submitted to the Executive Yuan.

The measures include preferential loans and loan extensions, training programs, and plans to boost local demand and encourage purchases by foreign buyers.

Pointing to an influx of Taiwanese companies that are returning to invest in the nation and purchases from state-run enterprises, Yang said the domestic market alone could bring about NT$15.3 billion in business opportunities.

Yang also suggested potential business opportunities from an increasing number of companies relocating their production sites from China to South Asian countries, which could drive up demand for machine tools and equipment.

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