Tue, Jul 23, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Discrimination charges raised against Taiwan

FOREIGN PREJUDICE?Taichung city government says the company making the allegations of discrimination had been found in violation of planning laws and safety

Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A British company that wanted to set up a factory in Greater Taichung is at the center of a row after threatening to complain to the UK broadcaster the BBC about the city’s government.

The company alleges that the city government discriminated against its application to set up the temporary facility.

In response, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) has said that the threat of outside interference would not disrupt city government proceedings.

According to the city government, the British firm established a facility in Wurih District (烏日) and had been fined for non-compliance with city regulations.

Wang Tan-sheng (王誕生), the head of the city’s Economical Development Bureau, said yesterday in a city council meeting that the company had tendered an application in 2011, but violated the city’s Land Administration Bureau’s Regional Planning Act (區域計畫法).

The company’s proposal had also violated some fire department regulations, Wang said, adding that the company was fined NT$60,000 and NT$12,000 respectively.

Last year, the company reapplied and while it passed the proposal stage, it was reluctant to improve the plant’s surrounding area, or update its fire safety equipment and was fined for violating the act again when the government sent officials for an on-site inspection.

Company officials then returned to their parent company in the UK and said that they would attempt to appear on the BBC to tell the world how Taiwan was unfriendly to foreign companies and discriminated against them, Wang said.

Wang said that the nation to which a company was registered was not part of the bureau’s application verification, adding that the bureau had gone through pains to attempt to aid the company.

Two meetings on the application were held in 2011 and the bureau had tried to negotiate with the company multiple times, but it refused to cooperate with on-site inspection procedures, Wang said.

He added he was sorry that the bureau had been unable to solve the issues.

Meanwhile, Hu said that he had instructed then-secretary-general Huang Kuo-jung (黃國榮) to handle a complaint of foreign company discrimination that had been sent to the city government from the Central Region Office of the Ministry of Economical Affairs.

Hu said Taichung should stand firm on its position and avoid making any on-the-fly statements in response to any media criticism.

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