Opposition to Taiwan factory lingers

| August 5, 2016

Taiwan’s government should revoke the operating license of a new Japanese-owned tobacco factory, anti-smoking advocates said yesterday, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

The activists blasted the government for approving the investment and providing subsidies.

“We do not want Taiwan to become a center for selling poison,” said the founder of the Taiwan Medical Alliance for the Control of Tobacco, Wen Chi-pang, a professor at the China Medical University, speaking alongside 20 protesters from the John Tung Foundation and other groups outside parliament.

The protesters said the Ministry of Finance should not have issued an operating license to Japan Tobacco International’s new factory in the Tainan Technology Industrial Park.

The NT$9.2 billion (US$290.1 million) factory is reportedly set to produce one-third of the cigarettes necessary to meet local consumption.

It will be the nation’s second foreign-owned tobacco factory, following the establishment of an Imperial Tobacco factory in Miaoli County in 2009.

The groups say that because of the granting of favorable government incentives, the factory will encourage domestic smoking and turn the country into a base for exports to the countries of Southeast Asia

“The government says it is bringing in foreign investment, but a lot of the funds are coming out of taxpayers’ pockets,” foundation tobacco control division head Lin Ching-li said.

Lin said the government should not have granted the company the use of a 7.6-ha site, utility incentives and property tax exemptions.

The government’s approval breached the spirit of the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals, which forbade foreign investment in industries that had an adverse effect on public health, Lin added.

Category: Breaking News

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