All foreign, Taiwanese firms need to adapt to India's biz envt: TAITRA on Foxconn hiring row

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) Amid the controversy surrounding Foxconn's hiring practices, Taiwanese trade promotion organisation TAITRA on Monday said that there could be some cultural issues but all foreign companies including Taiwanese firms operating in India need to adapt to the country's business environment.

His comment has come against the backdrop of media reports claiming that Taiwan-headquartered Foxconn, a contract manufacturer of Apple iPhones, is allegedly discriminating against married women by not hiring them to work at its unit in Tamil Nadu.

Rejecting the reports, Foxconn last month purportedly informed the government that 25 per cent of its new hires are married women and its safety protocol, which requires all employees to avoid wearing metal irrespective of gender or religion, is not discriminatory.

Refusing to be drawn into controversy regarding Foxconn's hiring practices, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) Chairman James C F Huang emphasised that every Taiwanese company comes to India with good faith.

He further asserted that Taiwan has persistent regulations in place ensuring the rights of employees irrespective of gender.

However, the TAITRA chief told PTI that "there are certain things that we have to adjust and work closely with our partners and friends in India and for many Taiwanese companies, it is a different culture, a different way of doing business.

"So there would always be some issues and I think it is not just for Taiwanese companies but (for) every foreign company when they come to India they would have to adapt to the Indian business environment".

The TAITRA chief emphasised that the Taiwanese industry is keen to contribute to India's economic development and wants to support Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies of Make in India and Digital India.

Huang said he is "not familiar with the Foxconn issue" but added in the same breath that "in Taiwan we have very persistent laws and regulations in ensuring people's rights for all employees of all gender. I don't think it is an issue".

He informed that bilateral trade between India and Taiwan, which stood at USD 8.2 billion in 2023, has been rising steadily and grew 28 per cent in the first half of this year (January-June).

"Trade between Taiwan and India is growing very very fast. Last year, bilateral trade amounted to USD 8.2 billion which was a 13 per cent increase as compared to 2022 and in the first half of this year it is growing even faster at 28 per cent. So the prospect of trade between our two countries is very bright," Huang said.

Sharing the outlook for India's semiconductor market, the TAITRA Chairman said the semiconductor market in India is growing "very fast" and one-third of Taiwan's exports to India are chips.

Apple iPhone contract manufacturer Foxconn has informed the government that 25 per cent of its new hires are married women and its safety protocol, which requires all employees to avoid wearing metal irrespective of gender or religion, is not discriminatory, sources told PTI last month.

They added that such media reports malign the fast-growing Indian manufacturing sector.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment last month sought a detailed report from the Tamil Nadu labour department on the issue of married women not being allowed to work at the Foxconn India Apple iPhone Plant.

According to media reports, the regional labour commissioner, Chennai, in its submission to the central labour ministry earlier this month, said there is no evidence supporting claims of discrimination against married women in the recruitment and employment processes at Foxconn’s Chennai iPhone factory there is no official word on it yet by the Union Labour Ministry.

The Taiwan External Trade Development Council is a non-profit government co-sponsored trade promotion organization in Taiwan.

The TAITRA Chairman was speaking on the sidelines of the Taiwan Expo here.

Taiwan Expo in India 2024 features over 120 companies showcasing more than 1,000 products from Taiwan. PTI RSN MBI RSN MR