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Machine Tool Trade Leader Urges Developing Homegrown Sensors, Servos and Drivers

Better trade liberalization between Taiwan and China is also crucial for the industry's sustainable development

Jul 16, 2015 | By Ken Liu

Eric Cho, chairman of the Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders' Association (TMBA), suggests the government to draw up as soon as possible a plan in its “Productivity 4.0” project to assist local manufacturers develop various industrial sensors as well as high-performance servo motors and drivers.

Cho, whose association represents approximately 800 manufacturers island-wide, recently attended a meeting hosted by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to offer advice on the ministry's “Productivity 4.0” project, the government's bid to convince mainland China to include machine tools and liquid crystal display (LCD) in its tax-exempt trade list at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Information Technology Agreement II (ITA II) meetings, and further talks of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between the Taiwan and mainland Chinese governments.

Cho notes that developing homegrown machine-tool controllers is crucial to sharpening competitiveness of Taiwan's machine-tool industry on the international market, suggesting the government to strengthen the training of controller specialists in schools by providing training programs that focus on cultivating homegrown controller developers. A machine-tool controller is analogous to the dimmer of lighting, the mechanism that enables intermittent wipers, the device that regulates gasoline flow in fuel injection, a computer software, without which such appliances would simply be ordinary, of low function or useless.

His association, in an effort to help accelerate the development of homegrown machine-tool controllers, suggests the ministry to designate controllers the pivotal item for urgent development in the program to upgrade the island's industry.

Taiwan's machine-tool industry, according to the association, generated revenue of US$3.75 billion in 2014, up 5.8 percent year on year. The association projects the Taiwan industry to generate 6-10 percent higher revenue this year than last year in consideration of the recovering automotive, aircraft, and information-communication technology (ICT) industries worldwide.

Cho points out that although IAT II meetings are multilateral free-trade talks on ICT products, positive development of the global ICT industry will definitely stimulate manufacturers to invest in capital equipment like machine tools for production.

He says the association held a members meeting in early 2014 to discuss a plan to develop high-precision, high-speed spindles for ICT production in cooperation with academic and research institutes in order to boost added- value of the island's machine-tool industry.

Cho says the association is looking forward to the government's participation of the IAT II meetings. In addition, the association suggests the government's negotiators at bilateral or multilateral trade talks should clearly understand how Taiwan's industries can benefit from these talks and make utmost efforts to achieve such benefits for the industries.

The government is vigorously persuading mainland China to include Taiwan-built machine tools in its tariff-free list, but Cho suggests the government to do its best to convince the mainland to open its market wider to Taiwan's goods in the goods-trade talks between the two sides than China has promised in Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with other countries. 


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