Tue, Apr 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

NPP accuses government of turning blind eye to illegal imports by Daiso

By Ann Maxon  /  Staff reporter

New Power Party (NPP) Executive Chairman Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) yesterday criticized the Ministry of Economic Affairs for allowing Japanese discount store chain Daiso to import goods from Japan during a six-month suspension period imposed by the ministry as punishment for illegally importing food products from areas in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster.

The company was in 2015 found to have imported food products from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, despite an order issued by the Food and Drug Administration in March 2011 banning all food imports from the five prefectures in the wake of the disaster.

As punishment, the ministry’s Bureau of Foreign Trade on Nov. 5, 2015, imposed a six-month suspension on the company, during which it was banned from importing any goods into Taiwan.

However, “the company was never really suspended during the period. In fact, the total goods imported during the period weighed more than 2,067 tonnes,” Huang told a news conference at party headquarters in Taipei.

The amount was little different from what the company typically imported before the suspension, he said.

The ministry cited Article 31 of the Foreign Trade Act (貿易法), saying that companies can import or export goods during a suspension period if the transactions had been established before the punishment was issued, Huang said.

However, “the company’s leaked e-mails show that most of the goods imported to Taiwan during the suspension period were ordered after the punishment had been meted out,” he said.

“The Bureau of Foreign Trade did not properly check whether the imported goods were really ordered before the punishment. It turned a blind eye to the company,” Huang added.

While the bureau typically approves less than 10 transactions during a suspension period, it approved a total of 825 transactions for Daiso when the company was suspended, he said.

The bureau is “deceiving the public” by appearing to be cracking down on illegal dealings by businesses when in reality it is allowing them to get away, Huang said.

Huang asked then-minister of economic affairs John Deng (鄧振中) to explain the lenient treatment Daiso received and asked how many times he had met with the head of Daiso to settle to matter.

“The case must be thoroughly investigated, as it involves many violations of the law,” he said.

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