The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to assist companies in traditional manufacturing sectors cope with raw material shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday.
“While the current effects are still limited ... some of our local manufacturers may soon run low on [raw materials],” Shen told reporters after a meeting with manufacturing industry representatives, pointing to recent supply chain disruptions across China, where production was suspended last month and January due to the outbreak.
Encompassing most of the secondary sector of Taiwan’s economy, traditional industries — such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, textile, petrochemicals, glass and cement — produce essentials used in housing, dining, clothing and healthcare.
Photo: Huang Pei-chun, Taipei Times
The combined output value of companies in these industries is estimated at NT$5.4 trillion (US$178.75 billion) a year, ministry data show.
The ministry would help accelerate inspections for faster raw materials imports, Shen said.
“Now it’s a question of speed... it [imports and exports] must be quicker,” he said, adding that the nation’s food supply remains stable.
Local manufacturers have also asked the government to loosen regulations on employee working hours, Shen said.
Meanwhile, businesses are raising fears over a potential credit crunch, he said.
Those fears are far from unfounded as a recent drop in crude oil prices sent shock waves across global markets.
Markets from the US to Europe, which have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, on Thursday experienced one of the greatest declines in decades.
Shen said that “the drop in oil prices should relieve some of the burden [on domestic demand],” but added that high volatility in US and European markets would affect global demand, which needs to be “closely observed.”
In other news, the ministry yesterday said it approved the applications of seven small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in a government plan aimed at stimulating investments in the nation.
The following companies, specializing in plastic recycling, metal components and machinery equipment, are combined to invest more than NT$3.8 billion to expand domestic production: Young Iee Environmental Technology Co Ltd (永溢環保), Jenn Lih Machinery Manufacturing Corp (震勵機械), Fu Lung Aluminum Technology Ltd (福隆鋁業), Long Tai Copper Corp (隴鈦銅器), Sheng-Hsin Machine Industry Co Ltd (勝新機械), Lee Dan Electronic Technology Co Ltd (利電電機) and Gus Technology Co Ltd (格斯科技).
The ministry has to date approved applications from 169 companies seeking to invest a total of NT$78.4 billion as part of the plan.
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