Taiwan's vice-minister of economic affairs, Shen Jong-chin, is leading a delegation to Vietnam today to help Taiwanese firms seek compensation from authorities there for damages incurred in deadly anti-China riots.
"The delegation is part of the government's efforts to show concern to our businessmen who suffered losses in last week's riots and to actively assist them in fighting for their rights and benefits according to their various needs," Vice-Premier Mao Chi-kuo said in Taipei yesterday.
Mao said the travelling party was composed of officials from relevant departments, including the economic, finance, foreign, labour, insurance and health ministries.
The delegation would assess losses, including those caused by suspension of operations, and help Taiwanese businesses seek compensation and restoration of operations from Vietnamese authorities, Mao said.
According to Taiwan's economic ministry, 224 Taiwanese factories suffered damage during the riots, with 18 set on fire and five burnt down.
The ministry has yet to calculate the exact amount of the losses, but Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group has already reported US$3 million in property losses and a delay in the construction of a steel mill in Vietnam by one to two months due to the evacuation of 3,000 Chinese workers in the wake of the riots.
Taiwan is Vietnam's fourth biggest foreign investor, pumping US$27.3 billion of investment into 2,301 projects.
Last week's protests against Beijing's setting up of an oil rig in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands - known in China as the Xisha Islands and by Vietnam as the Hoang Sa Islands - turned violent when thousands of rioters broke into and looted factories employing Chinese workers. Four mainland workers died.
More than 6,000 Taiwanese fled Vietnam but a number of them began returning to the country this week with some factories resuming operations after Vietnamese authorities vowed to keep any more riots in check.
The destruction of Taiwanese facilities prompted the Taipei government to condemn Vietnam and demand compensation from Hanoi.
Vietnam later apologised and offered to consider giving tax cuts and other forms of compensations to firms that suffered.
Duh Tyzz-jiun, another Taiwanese vice-minister for economic affairs, yesterday said his ministry had been talking to Vietnam about a new investment protection pact, aimed at giving fuller protection to Taiwanese companies, including those investing in Vietnam through a third country or territory.
Meanwhile, Tseng Yung-chuan, secretary-general of Taiwan's Kuomintang, arrived in Ho Chi Minh City to show concern on behalf of KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou, who is also Taiwan's president, for Taiwanese businessmen affected by the riots.