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Taiwan helping prepare firms for trade liberalization

2012/06/26 17:11:19

Taipei, June 26 (CNA) To ease the potential impact of trade liberalization on vulnerable businesses, the government is carrying out several measures to support small- and medium-sized enterprises and help them upgrade their operations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Tuesday.

Under a 10-year NT$95.2 billion (US$3.18 billion) project launched in 2010 in line with the Industrial Innovation Act, Taiwan has already injected NT$5.81 billion to help upgrade and guide thousands of companies, said Chou Neng-chuan, deputy director-general of the ministry's Industrial Development Bureau.

The investment has generated NT$30.8 billion in economic activity, attracted investment of NT$11.48 billion, and helped create 18,984 jobs, Chou said at a press briefing on the progress made by the program.

"We'd like to help domestic demand-oriented sectors, less-competitive sectors and sectors vulnerable to the negative effects of trade liberalization promote their products in a more liberal trade environment," Chou said.

"Trade liberalization brings benefits, but it also has an impact on certain industries," he added.

According to the ministry, 22 industries need "enforcement and assistance," including the textile, ceramic, household appliance and pharmaceutical industries.

Meanwhile, the publishing, auto part and component, food and beverage, and machinery industries are also on a government watch list because they are also vulnerable to trade liberalization, the ministry said.

The ministry also initiated an MIT (Made In Taiwan) label and an MIT quality verification system in 2010 to assure product quality, and it has also helped finance domestic firms to participate in exhibitions or trade shows overseas to broaden their markets.

Barry Yeh, sales manager of Mi Ger Underwear Co., one of the companies that have benefited from the project, said his company's revenue has tripled or even quadrupled over the past six years.

"We used to do everything on our own, but now with the government's active assistance, we have access to more resources and can build our image," he said.

Export sales, which only accounted for 20 percent of the total in the past, now take up 80 percent, he said.

Chen Kuo-shun, vice president of HCG Corp., a bathroom equipment company that specializes in toilets, said his company's revenue has grown 10 percent a year since the project kicked off.

"The MIT label represents high quality," he said. "For the long-run, it is beneficial to Taiwan and to all consumers."

(By James Lee)