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MOEA to help Taiwanese investors in Vietnam

TAIPEI--The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Wednesday that it will provide assistance to Taiwanese investors operating in Vietnam who are affected by anti-China protests in the Southeast Asian country.

Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭), vice economics minister, said the ministry has requested its representative offices in Vietnam to help affected Taiwanese investors there.

MOEA Urges Action of Vietnam

In addition, Cho said the ministry has urged the Vietnamese government to take action as soon as possible to help Taiwanese firms, while warning that any inaction could hurt Taiwanese investors' willingness to invest in the country.

Vietnamese have been staging protests against China since Beijing deployed an oil rig in what Hanoi claims as its economic waters near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Naval ships from the two countries have engaged in a tense standoff near the oil rig.

Many of the protesting Vietnamese have failed to distinguish between Chinese and Taiwanese and have attacked Taiwanese businesses.

About 1,000 Taiwanese investors located in Binh Duong Province, north of Ho Chi Minh City, where the violence has been concentrated, have been affected by the violence.

In addition to Binh Duong Province, some Taiwanese investors located in Dong Nai Province, northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, have been also forced to suspend operations. Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), one of Taiwan's largest conglomerates, has been affected and has strongly urged the Taiwanese government to demand protection for Taiwanese investors.

Cho said the ministry has implemented a mechanism to deal with emergency situations in Vietnam, while urging Taiwanese investors, their families and staff to watch out for their safety.

Losses Under Assessment

Vice Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Wednesday that the government has assembled an emergency task force to help Taiwanese businessmen affected by anti-China protests in Vietnam and assess their losses.

The task force was put together by the Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs ministries and the Oversea Community Affairs Council on Tuesday, soon after Vietnamese protesters began destroying property owned by Taiwanese businessmen, Shen said at a legislative hearing.

Shen said Taiwanese businessmen in Vietnam have invested in 481 projects in the Southeast Asian country, and their overall losses are still being assessed.

He said some Taiwanese businessmen were targeted in the riots because their companies had Chinese-language signs and were mistakenly identified as Chinese companies.

The Tourism Bureau, meanwhile, said there are currently 290 Taiwanese tourists in Vietnam, mainly in the northern part of the country and in Ha Long Bay, and they have not been affected by the protests.

According to the MOEA, only one Taiwanese investor operating in Bihn Duong has been injured, while 300 have moved into a hotel in the province and an additional 100 are taking shelter in police stations.

Cho said Taiwan is the fourth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, and warned that if the Vietnamese government fails to handle the matter in an appropriate manner, Taiwanese investors could become reluctant to put money into the Southeast Asian country.

Between January 1988 and March 2014, Taiwanese investors injected US$27.3 billion into Vietnam, behind only investors from Japan at US$35.3 billion, South Korea at US$30.4 billion and Singapore at US$30.1 billion.

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