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Gov't delegation set to arrive in Vietnam today

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Vice Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) yesterday said he will lead a delegation of 24 government officials to Vietnam today, noting that the purpose of the visit is to assist Taiwanese businesspeople in seeking compensation from the Vietnamese government.

After Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) yesterday morning convened the fourth cross-ministry meeting regarding a response to the recent violent demonstrations in Vietnam, Shen and Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) jointly held a press conference at the Executive Yuan to explain the itinerary of the four-day visit to Vietnam.

Mao was quoted by Sun as saying that in order to respond quickly to the requests of Taiwanese businesspeople in Vietnam, the members of the delegation must be government officials who are entitled to make decisions.

Shen said the delegation will look into the damage sustained by Taiwanese businesses and then, based on each company's circumstances, develop a differentiated approach to seek compensation from the Vietnamese government. He added that compensation approaches will be based on a Taiwan-Vietnam investment protection agreement signed in 1993.

Sun said delegation members will negotiate with the Vietnamese government regarding the compensation issues, noting that, however, he cannot offer the public too many details at the moment without “ruining” the upcoming negotiations.

Shen said that as of May 20, a total of 224 Vietnam-based factories and companies receiving investments from Taiwan were affected during the recent riots. He added that, according to his ministry, 175 are located in Binh Duong Province, 41 are located in Dong Nai Province, six are stationed at Ho Chi Minh City and one in Ha Tinh Province.

The vice minister went on to say that during the four-day visit the delegation is scheduled to convene three conferences with representatives of Taiwanese companies in Binh Duong and Dong Nai.

Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA) official Lien Yu-ping (連玉蘋) further explained that delegation members will have the chance to listen and talk to around 20 Taiwanese companies at each conference.

Lien said the four-day visit is not a one-time event, adding that the government will continue to dispatch delegations of government officials to Vietnam to assist Taiwanese businessmen.

Apart from the three conferences, the delegation will visit Taiwanese businesses in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park and Song Than Industrial Park in Binh Duong Province as well as in Nhon Trach Industrial Zone and Tam Phouc Industrial Zone in Dong Nai Province, Shen said.

When asked by reporters if the government will also assist companies that are not fully invested by Taiwanese nationals in seeking compensation for their losses, Lien said the delegation will try to understand each company's situation and will try to negotiate with the Vietnamese government with a “loose” interpretation of the 1993 agreement.

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