Fri, Mar 15, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Lin Hsin-yi denies TSU allegations

PAN-GREEN INFIGHTING The vice premier rejected calls for his resignation, saying the TSU was wrong to suggest he had been fed false information on wafer manufacturing

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Defending his professional judgment, Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) yesterday denied being fed false information when weighing whether to allow Taiwan's chipmakers to invest in China.

The TSU has demanded Lin's resignation, saying the documents upon which Lin based his decision during his stint as economics minister contained grave factual errors.

"I don't think the ministry had been fed false information," the vice premier said. "Moreover, the information [provided by Industrial Development Bureau] is purely for reference purposes and does not represent the government's final decision."

Lin made the remark while having lunch with reporters yesterday.

The government is due to make known its stance by the end of March on whether it will allow Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) -- the world's largest and second-largest contract chipmakers respectively -- to set up wafer foundries in China.

Until then, a 17-person task force -- consisting of industry representatives, government officials and academics -- will continue to meet and discuss the matter before presenting its recommendations to the Cabinet for final approval, Lin said.

However, TSU lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the accuracy of a report that had served as an important source for the decision to lift the ban.

They claimed that the report, prepared last December by the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, was full of misleading information and untruthful statistics.

The party also called for Lin's resignation over the government's plan to allow Taiwanese firms to build eight-inch wafer plants in China.

In response, Lin told reporters he was not perturbed by the call since Taiwan is a democratic country where people are free to express their opinions.

Lin also explained why he did not inform his successor, Christine Tsung (宗才怡), of the water shortage back in January when the Water Resources Bureau (水資源局) first issued the warning.

"I didn't receive the [written] report until mid-February, half a month after leaving office," Lin said. "However, I did tell her about Taiwan's overall water situation."

Commenting on the economy, the vice premier said there would be a steady but slow rebound by the end of the second quarter or the beginning of the third quarter.

"I expect to see this year's economic growth reach between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent and the jobless rate drop from the current 5.2 percent to 4.2 percent by the end of the year," he said.

Lin also urged the corporate sector to speed up switching from labor-intensive industries to high value-added, high-tech industries to maintain Taiwan's technological edge.

Asked to comment on the capital flight across the Strait, the vice premier said it is unwise to focus attention on the development of only the information-technology industry.

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