Northern Ireland Office stays committed to Taiwan deal

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The Independent Online
THE NORTHERN Ireland Office remains committed to giving pounds 61m in aid to a controversial Taiwanese company despite its link to stock market scandals, writes Russell Hotten.

A spokesman said the department's representatives in Taiwan continue to investigate, but it intends to uphold the agreement with Hualon, which plans to build a pounds 157m textile factory outside Belfast.

He added: 'We have to look at the issues when they come up but as it stands we have an agreement and will stand by it.' Critics say the factory would mean job losses at textile plants in Britain, and believe the Government faces increasing embarrassment as scandal envelops Hualon.

Yesterday the company tried to distance itself from allegations that executives of two Hualon stockbroking subsidiaries failed to pay for shares bought on the Taiwan market. The affair set off a crash that has wiped 14.7 per cent off the market index since last Tuesday.

Hualon's general manager, Liang Ching-shiung, said: 'While investigations of the current case in Taiwan will take some time, the Hualon Corporation plans on going ahead with its Northern Ireland project. We as a company have nothing to do with the case that is much talked about.'

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