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MOEA allows selective exports of sand & gravel

The China Post news staff--Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday that the Cabinet had already instructed the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to open exports of Taiwan's sand and gravel materials on a case-by-case basis.

Jiang made the statements in response to the latest call by Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi who asked the government to reopen exports of gravel and sand created from river dredging operations in the eastern county while generating revenues for the government.

The vice premier said the Cabinet has asked the MOEA to work out effective measures that can balance the needs of domestic construction industry, stabilize building materials prices, and create public revenues at the same time.

Chu Ming-chau, director of the Bureau of Mines under the MOEA, clarified that the ministry has been implementing the measure of easing the export ban but requiring special export permits from the MOEA.

Such regulated permits are designed to ensure adequate domestic supply and avoid rising prices that can be caused by market shortage, he explained.

Under close supervision, Hualien will be able to ship abroad 5.9 million metric tons of sand and gravel in the next 12 months, he estimated. But exporters have to first apply permits from the MOEA.

Concerning the allegations that construction companies in Taiwan still import unqualified marine sand from mainland China that could threaten the safety of the buildings, Chu said that his bureau and other government agencies have been closely monitoring and inspecting the quality of imported sand and gravel from the mainland.

All shipments delivered to Taiwan from mainland China have met the national quality standards set for building materials, he added.

The government had allowed gravel imports from mainland China in 1997 as part of the measures to bring down construction materials prices caused by shortage of supply on the market.

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