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Taiwanese Lawmakers Want U.K. Booze Ban

January 11, 2003

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ Taiwanese lawmakers want to punish the maker of Johnnie Walker whiskey, Smirnoff vodka and other spirits for a British ad campaign that some felt maligned the island’s image.

The legislature passed a resolution Friday calling for a one-year ban on sales by British company Diageo PLC.

Lawmakers, who passed the resolution in a 115-100 vote, are angry about Smirnoff ads that appeared in the London subway last month.

The ads showed a half-wrapped Christmas gift bearing a label that said: ``Warning. This gift will break down on Christmas morning. Replacement parts available from service centre. Box No. 260 Taiwan. Allow 365 working days for delivery.″

Taiwanese are sensitive to criticism about the island’s manufacturing economy. The island was once a major producer of cheap consumer goods, but it has worked hard in recent years to build a reputation for making high-quality products, including laptops and computer chips.

Diageo has apologized for the campaign, but that failed to halt the resolution, which also called on the government to sue the British company for damages to the island’s image.

A Diageo spokesman in Taiwan, Chang Chin-kai, said the company has agreed to display ads in the London subway praising Taiwan’s high-tech industry.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Eugene Chien noted the company’s apology but said the government has not yet decided how it will handle the resolution.

Update hourly