Fri, May 11, 2018 - Page 1 News List

First Taiwan-US defense forum held

DUE DILIGENCE:One executive said the level of protection for intellectual property and trade secrets in the nation is a concern for potential defense industry partners

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, in Kaohsiung

Lockheed Martin business development director for Asia-Pacific Robert Laing said there is significant opportunity for Taiwanese shipbuilders to cooperate with their US counterparts.

As Washington reorients its defense priorities from fending off terrorism to dealing with powerful rivals, the US Navy has renewed its interest in guided-missile frigates and anti-

submarine warfare, which match the Republic of China Navy’s needs, he said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳) said the Tsai administration plans to spend US$15.67 billion on the navy from this year to 2040.

While the naval program is currently focused on submarines, frigates, minelayers and amphibious transport docks, the navy would later move on to developing destroyers, landing helicopter docks, marine special operations craft and other ships, she said.

These measures would provide strong, sustainable demand for the domestic shipbuilding industry, she added.

However, during the question-and-answer session, association chairman Han Pi-hsiang (韓碧祥) stood up in the audience and issued a sharply worded critique of the government’s procurement policy.

Domestic shipbuilders are either “glutted to bursting or starving to death,” because government contracts have been sporadic and outsized, he said.

Under the current government procurement system, contractors have to complete large batches of ships before being paid, which is risky and drains them of funds, he added.

“Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry is a hard environment to survive in,” Han said. “I want to use this forum to communicate with the government and work out these problems.”

Additional reporting by CNA

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