Wed, Mar 20, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Official says fab move would hurt jobs

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

If the government grants approval for manufacturers' request to build eight-inch wafer foundries in China this year, Taiwan would lose 18,000 job opportunities by the year 2005, said Council of Labor Affairs Chairwoman Chen Chu (陳菊).

In light of the fact that the production of 12-inch wafers is still in a trial phase, Chen said she worried that the lifting the ban on the building of eight-inch wafer fabs this year would seriously affect the country's job market.

She cited information provided by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (工研院) to show her concern.

Based on the report, there are 103,000 employers working in the IT industry this year.

If the restriction is not relaxed, the employment opportunities in the field will reach 173,000 by 2005; in contrast, if the ban is lifted this year, job offers by 2005 will drop down to 155,000, according to the report.

Chen said that the loss of 18,000 future jobs would worsen the nation's rising unemployment rate.

Chen and Wei Che-ho (魏哲和), chairman of the National Science Council (NSC), met with TSU lawmakers yesterday to discuss the possible impact on the labor market if the government gives a nod to demands by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台機電) and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) -- the world's largest and second largest contract chipmakers -- to set up plants in China.

Responding to questions posed by the lawmakers, Wei conceded that the government has no legal regulations in place to prevent a brain drain to China.

But he said the NSC is set to amend the Business Espionage Law (商業間諜法) to achieve the goal of "effective management" of cross-strait investment.

The TSU has said that to better safeguard Taiwan's interests, the government has to come up with legal measures to monitor the flows of capital, talent and technology to China before the ban can be lifted.Also See Story:

TSU claims victory in wafer squabble

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