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Taiwan, Vietnam in talks on investment protection pact: Duh

TAIPEI--Taiwan is seeking to expand an investment protection agreement with Vietnam to cover investors through a third place, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Duh Tyzz-jiun said yesterday.

Asked by an opposition lawmaker how the government will help Taiwanese businesses investing in Vietnam through a third place to seek compensation from Vietnam for losses incurred through anti-China rioting that erupted a week earlier in the Southeast Asian nation, Duh said the ministry began talks on renewing the existing investment protection pact between the two countries one year ago but added that he was not sure when the talks will be finalized, given the uncertainties in international negotiations for such an agreement.

Duh said that the new pact will be couched in more precise language and will include the protection of Taiwanese companies investing in Vietnam through a third place, who are not covered under the existing pact, signed in 1993.

He was responding to a call from legislators across party lines at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Economics Committee for the government to take a more hardline stance toward Vietnam to ensure better protection of the rights of Taiwanese enterprises there.

While some lawmakers have urged the government to recommend that Taiwanese companies in Vietnam return to Taiwan, an opposition legislator noted that Vietnam is a member of several economic blocs and that exporters in the country enjoy preferential tariff treatment, making Taiwanese businessmen reluctant to return home, even though the situation remains highly unstable. This, the lawmaker said, makes it important for the government to protect these businesses' rights in Vietnam.

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