The Taiwan government said it will cap cement exports at 30 per cent of the country’s total production by 2015 to encourage the phasing out of old inefficient plants that are heavy polluters, Economic Affairs Minister Shih Yen-shiang said Tuesday.
Shih said that with domestic demand on the decline, Taiwan’s cement producers have raised their export volume in the past few years to about 50 per cent of total production to make use of idle capacity.
As limits on cement exports are phased in annually over the next five years, the minister said, local cement producers are expected to cut production to reach a balance between supply and demand by closing down out-of-date facilities.
Eliminating these older production facilities, which generate high levels of pollution, will help Taiwan improve its environment and assist in its transition toward an economy based on energy efficient industries, he said. According to the Taiwan Cement Manufacturers’ Association, Taiwan’s cement production in 2009 exceeded 15Mt, of which half was sold overseas.
At its peak in 1994-1995, Taiwan’s domestic demand for cement was 28Mta, but that had fallen to about 10Mt in 2009, of which over 2Mt was satisfied by imports.
Shih believes the cement industry should cater primarily to the local market, and he said that by getting companies to shut down old plants and cut production, more of their output will stay in Taiwan to support local construction and infrastructure projects.