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Seeking new pastures towel makers duck mainland onslaught

Sep '05
Severely affected by cheap towel imports from Mainland China, towel makers from Taiwan have sought government intervention.

In an appeal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), they have sought investigation of cheap imports from China possible hike in tariffs within 70 days at the earliest on the towels imported from the mainland.

Also a proposed rise to 50 percent instead of current 10.5 percent of import duty, has been suggested in the appeal.

Towel Makers Association, media sources state, claims the industry is affected to such an extent that cheap Chinese imports have cornered almost 80 percent of the market share.

Since the ending of textile quotas, begining this year, and Taiwan's entry into WTO in 2002, this is the first of appeal case and also the first where Taiwan authority can possibly uses special defensive measure to protect its industry.

Meanwhile, the Economics Minister Ho Mei-yueh has said imports from China could not be stopped as Taiwan was WTO member and had to adhere to its rules.

However, any violation of WTO fair trade rules could be subject to legal suit or seek complete boycott of the said item.

Informing about the state of Taiwan's towel industry, Chairman of the Taiwan Towel Industry Association, Chiang Sung-ning said that number of towel producers has gone down to 40 over 100 at its peak.

Turning to the question of survival, several units like Kwong Fong Industries Corp, Bochang Twoel Mfg Co, and Hung Tai Textile Co. have shifted their ops to Vietnam.

Most of the towel making units are located in Yunlin County, central Taiwan.

Taiwanese Government

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