Gov`t Will Phase Out Outdated Heavy-Industry Factories

To uphold the cause of energy conservation and carbon abatement, the government will phase out outdated cement factories featuring high energy consumption and high pollution and curb the share of cement export in total output to 30% by 2015, down from 40-50% now, said Shih Yen-shiang, economics minister, yesterday (Sept. 14).

Other factories in the fields of petrochemical, paper making, and steel will also have to shut down, should they fail to live up to the standards of energy efficiency and pollution control, to be set by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), according to Shih.

Koo Cheng-yun, chairman of Taiwan Cement, Taiwan`s leading cement supplier, urged the government to boost domestic cement demand by stepping up infrastructural construction, so that domestic firms won`t have to rely on exports, which violates the domestic-market orientation of the industry. Other domestic players asked the government to curb cement import, notably that from China.

In line with the prevalence of “green policy” worldwide, the MOEA is formulating energy-efficiency indices, which cover production equipment and working environment, in order to induce the upgrading of high energy-consumption and high-pollution industries.

At a press conference on the one-year anniversary of his office, Shih noted that along with the completion of many major infrastructural projects, domestic cement supply has exceeded demand in recent years, forcing domestic cement firms to tap overseas markets, whose share has risen to 40-50% of their output in recent years.

MOEA statistics show that with total annual capacity of 20 million metric tons, domestic cement firms produced 15 million metric tons of cement last year, half of which was shipped abroad.

(by Philip Liu)

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