TAIWAN: Diageo faces year ban in Taiwan after Smirnoff "insult"

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Diageo may face a ban of its products on the Taiwanese market, after an advertisement for one of its products in the UK apparently caused offence to the country's authorities.

Taiwan's government said today that it was pondering a resolution passed by the country's parliament to suspend sales of Diageo's brands in Taiwan for one year, because ads for Smirnoff Ice in the UK had implied that Taiwan was a producer of poor quality goods.

Diageo has already apologised for the advertisements, which have been withdrawn. Diageo Taiwan chairman Lee Chi-ying said the company would be placing advertisements giving a positive image of Taiwan in London's subway system around the time of the Lunar New Year at the start of next month.

The Taiwanese government now needs to decide whether to press ahead with the action its parliament has called for, however it is believed that political pressures will ensure that Diageo's apologies will suffice.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will invite other government agencies to discuss whether to take legal action against Diageo," ministry spokeswoman Chang Siao-yue said today.

"We need to consider whether it is feasible," she said, adding that Diageo had apologised.

Taiwan is still struggling to gain international diplomatic acceptance. Its Chinese neighbour views it as a breakaway province and only 30 countries around the world recognise it officially.

The Taiwanese government will be reluctant to do anything to upset its ties with the UK.

Companies: Diageo

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