Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs has stated that though the planned Kuokuang petrochemical plant has met with opposition on environmental concerns, its construction seems imperative to ensure the competitiveness of Taiwan's petrochemical sector. The Minister, however, acknowledged that safety and environmental concerns had to be addressed, and accepted that the environmental concerns are legitimate. Hence the government will need to strengthen its role in strictly monitoring the sector to put the minds of residents living near the complexes at ease while at the same time maintaining an appropriate scale of production.
The planned Kuokuang complex, which has faced strong resistance, is to replace the fifth naphtha complex operated by state-run CPC Corp. that was committed to relocation by the government 20 years ago. The minister contended that the Kuokuang project is a vital investment for Taiwan's economy because it cannot enjoy persistent growth without a sound petrochemical industry. Without the complex, midstream and downstream producers would be likely to leave Taiwan, leaving the local industry out of balance. At the same time, the CPC Corp. chain would be weakened, reducing the competition faced by the Formosa Plastics Group.