Wed, May 10, 2006 - Page 2 News List

SEF to probe ban on Taiwanese firms at Hangzhou food fair

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Straits Exchange Found-ation (SEF) yesterday said it would send a lawyer to Hang-zhou, China, to look into Tai-wanese companies being barred from attending a food exposition there.

The SEF will dispatch lawyer Lee Yung-ran (李永然) and the Taiwanese businessmen's association in Hangzhou to look into the matter, SEF secretary-general You Ying-lung (游盈隆) said yesterday.

Eighty-seven Taiwanese companies that were supposed to participate in a Taiwanese food exhibition in the Hangzhou World Leisure Expo 2006 were prevented from attending the event because the Chinese authorities have not allowed them unload their cargo and equipment. They have also been prevented from decorating their exhibition booths.

The companies had signed a contract with the Taiwan-based Sino Biotech Company, which served as their broker to participate in the exposition.

The exposition is being held by the World Leisure Organization, the Chinese tourism bureau and the Hangzhou provincial government from Apr. 22 to Oct. 22, and is expected to attract more than 16 million tourists.

Up to now, the delay has cost the Taiwanese firms nearly NT$30 million (US$937,500), an SEF press statement said yesterday.

Director of the SEF's Econo-mic and Trade Department Chang Shih-chung (張世忠) said the incident could have been avoided if the firms had chosen to go through a government-delegated organiza-tion, such as the Taiwan External Trade and Development Council, which could have provided more protection for signing contracts.

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