Wed, Sep 30, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Criteria for wafer, panel firms may be relaxed further

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government may further relax regulations for wafer and panel companies investing in China, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.

Responding to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) during a question-and-answer session at the legislature, Shih said the ministry had been studying the possibility for a while.

“We will hold cross-departmental negotiations by the end of this year before deciding on the policy,” Shih said, adding that the decision would include whether to allow Chinese investors to invest in the wafer and panel manufacturing industry in Taiwan.

Shih said wafer and panel manufacturers had suggested that the government relax regulations to allow them to invest in 12-inch wafer fabs and sixth and eight-generation panel plants in China.

Currently, the government only allows businesses to invest in wafers smaller than eight inches and small panels in China, Shih said.

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who was present during the session, said the government’s investment restrictions had held back companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) while other international manufacturers such as NEC Corp and Intel Corp had been making investments in China for years.

During the same session, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the government was expected to reach a consensus with different sectors by the end of this year on whether to push the construction of a new road connecting Ilan and Hualien.

Mao told KMT Legislator Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) that the Directorate General of Highways had drawn up six scenarios and would narrow down the choices after holding talks with “relevant elected representatives.”

The government announced a controversial plan on Dec. 24 last year to build an alternative road to replace the existing Suhua Highway.

At the time, the government said planning for the project was expected to be completed in the second half of this year.

However, the plan has attracted criticism from environmental groups, which have said the road would damage the environment.

Wu said the government would choose “the least environmentally controversial” and “most feasible” scenario.

“I believe there is no excuse for the Executive Yuan to hesitate [in terms of improving transportation safety between Hualien and Ilan],” Wu said.

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