[Last update: July 23 at 9:35 a.m.]
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Hong Kong-headquartered Nan Hai Development Limited said on Monday (July 22) it would soon lodge an appeal with Taiwan’s Executive Yuan against the government’s decision to revoke its bid for the Taipei Twin Tower development project.
The Investment Commission of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEAIC) in June rejected Nan Hai Development Limited’s application to set up a company in Taiwan co-funded by Malaysia-based property developer Malton Berhad.
The Tapei City government has decided to award the Hong Kong-Malaysia consortium for the Taipei Twin Towers, a multi-billion dollar business complex near Taipei Main Station. Nevertheless, the team has to first obtain MOEAIC’s permission to register a firm in Taiwan before making the deal with the city government.
However, following a committee that met at the end of June, the commission concluded that Nan Hai Development Limited is a Chinese-funded enterprise and thus rejected its application due to “national security concerns.” MOEAIC issued a statement on June 26 saying that the development project is of concern to national security because of its proximity to the hub of the capital's major public transport systems.
It also ruled that Nan Hai Development Limited has an “extremely close association” with Chinese business, since its parent company Nan Hai Corp. has, to a high degree, been controlled by Chinese senior executives and board members. Nearly one month after the revocation decision was made, Nan Hai Development Limited said via a press statement on Monday that it would appeal to the Executive Yuan while it prepares to file administrative litigation, reported Central News Agency.
The consortium criticized MOEAIC’s decision as having no legal bases for ruling that the project constitutes a national security concern. It also stressed that the two companies fall under the category of foreign investment, which includes financing from Hong Kong-based companies.
The team will also ask for the Taipei City Government to give it more time to resolve the issue. The city government has said the team would lose the project should it not be able to sign the contract within the time limit.
The Taiwan government has allowed Chinese enterprises to invest in Taiwan in certain industries for a decade. However, in recent years, MOEAIC, functioning as the government’s checkpoint for overseas investments in Taiwan, has been stricter when dealing with Chinese firms.
Whether to open up Taiwan’s market to Chinese investors or curb Chinese resources to ward off security risks is a conundrum for the government. So too is drawing a clear line of demarcation between Hong Kong companies and Chinese ones.