Thu, Sep 22, 2005 - Page 2 News List

`Taishang' whine about business risks in China

BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN  /  STAFF REPORTER

Some Taiwanese businesspeople based in China, known as Taishang, called on the government to conduct a risk assessment of China's investment environment and provide more incentives for them to invest in Taiwan.

The heads of some Taishang associations made the suggestions to the government during the two-day Mid-Autumn Festival Conference and Gathering hosted by the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), the quasi-governmental entity that deals with cross-strait affairs in the absence of official ties between Taiwan and China.

About 150 heads and officials of regional Taiwanese business associations attended the event, as well as government officials and other dignitaries.

Ho Hsi-hao (何希灝), the head of the Zhangzhou Taiwanese businessmen's association, urged the government to disclose the risks associated with the investment environment in China, as the Chinese market is highly risky.

In response, You said that the SEF will make an assessment report on the investment environment in several major cities in China to provide a reference for Taishang.

The risk of investing in China results partly from its incomplete law enforcement system and partly because of deadlocked cross-strait relations, said Lin Jung-te (林榮德), who is head of Kunshan Taiwanese businessmen's association.

Taiwanese businesspeople are disadvantaged in China, Lin said, adding that Taishang face unfair competition.

"Taishang are easy targets for accusations of tax evasion and it is not easy for them to meet their financial needs through China's banks," Lin said.

Yeh Hung-teng (葉宏燈), a Taishang based in Dongguan, urged the government to provide more investment incentives to attract Taishang back to Taiwan.

"While the price of raw materials and the cost of labor have been gradually growing in recent years in China, the government should take the opportunity to help Taishang reduce production cost, the factor that prompts Taishang to move offshore," Yeh said.

The Taishang also paid a visit to the Far Glory Free Trade Zone, a park established with the aim of luring Taishang back from China.

The park integrates air cargo with a free trade port and is also the only one of its kind in the world, said Far Glory chairman Chao Teng-hsing (趙藤雄). Chao added that the advanced equipment in the park would successfully attract many Taishang.

The park is scheduled to begin operations in November and more than half of its sites have been booked, with most reserved by Taishang, said Tung Chi-wen (董啟文), the park's deputy marketing manager.

Lo Yuan-mao (羅元茂), the vice head of the Dongguan Taiwanese businessmen's association, urged the government to carry out cross-strait charter flights as soon as possible.

"The lack of cross-strait charter flights, which might significantly reduce transportation costs across the Strait might discount the benefits of the free trade zone," Lo said.

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