Vietnam apologizes, mulling tax cuts for Taiwanese businesses (update) - Focus Taiwan

Vietnam apologizes, mulling tax cuts for Taiwanese businesses (update)

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Vietnam's chief envoy to Taiwan apologized Sunday, on behalf of his government, to the Taiwanese businesses that suffered losses as a result of the anti-China protests in his country and said his government is considering offering tax cuts and other forms of compensation to those enterprises.

Bui Trong Van, head of the Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, expressed "deep regret and apologies" to the investors on behalf of his government, at a press conference at Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He had previously offered a "personal" apology over the losses suffered by Taiwanese people in his country but was summoned Sunday by Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lin, who asked that the Vietnamese government apologize, punish those responsible and compensate the affected investors.

Over the past few days, Vietnamese officials have been meeting with foreign investors to evaluate the losses and will take steps to compensate these businesses, Bui said.

Reducing or removing land or business taxes could be one of the forms of compensation, which may also include offering the affected businesses concessional loans or debt relief on overdue loans, he said.

"The most important goal is to help companies resume normal production activities as soon as possible," Bui said. "It is in the interests of foreign-funded companies, the Vietnamese workers and the Vietnamese government and country."

Asked when a decision could be made regarding compensation, Bui did not give a timeframe, saying only that he hopes it will happen soon.

We hope that Taiwanese businesses will continue to stay and invest in Vietnam," Bui said.

Taiwan's direct investment in Vietnam currently stands at around US$28 billion, he noted, saying it is an important asset for the Taiwanese companies and for Vietnam.

Foreign Minister David Lin, also speaking at the press conference, said a deputy minister from the Ministry of Economic Affairs will lead a delegation to Vietnam this week with the hope of expediting the compensation arrangements.

"After our Ministry of Economic Affairs delegation arrives in Vietnam, we hope to gain a better understanding of and further study all compensation matters," Lin said.

Lin said that in his meeting with Bui, he reiterated Taiwan's strong condemnation of the violence, and that the Vietnamese government has given a "clear and positive response" to Taiwan's request for an apology, punishment and compensation.

Lin called on the Vietnamese government to rebuild investors' confidence in the country.

Anti-China protests erupted May 13 in Vietnam after China earlier this month deployed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands, an area claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.

Many factories in industrial parks in Vietnam, including several run by Taiwanese companies, were either set alight or vandalized during the protests.

Early estimates show that around 107 Taiwanese-invested businesses had been vandalized, with around 10 factories having to suspend operations because of the damage.

(By Christie Chen)ENDITEM/pc

Related stories:●May 18:Vietnam promises to help reopen companies affected by riots●May 16: Taiwan to seek compensation from Vietnam for losses during riots

(Click here for developments related to the anti-China protest-turned-riot in Vietnam.)

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