BAe revives hopes of Taiwan deal: Speculation of talks including China

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The Independent Online
BRITISH AEROSPACE is close to resuming talks with Taiwan Aerospace Corporation about forming a joint venture for its regional jet business.

Reports that BAe is exploring ways to bring China into the partnership were described yesterday as speculative, but company executives are planning to visit the country in early July.

Sun Tao-tsun, TAC's chairman, and officials from Taiwan's Aerospace Industry Development Center were in Britain over the weekend to discuss ways of resuming formal talks, which collapsed last autumn, according to reports in Hong Kong newspapers.

They said BAe was seeking partners in China to join the venture. 'It is speculation that there are tripartite talks,' BAe said. Taiwan's government bans local companies from investing in high technology industries in China.

BAe and TAC signed a draft joint venture agreement in January 1993 to produce a short-haul passenger aircraft for regional services. Talks ended after disagreements over investment and attempts by TAC to renegotiate the deal.

But management changes at TAC and a review of aerospace commitments by the Taiwanese government have encouraged both sides that talks can be restarted.

A BAe spokesman said the company had retained contacts with TAC and would still like to do a deal. 'There are talks about talks, but nothing formal,' he said.