Pork exports set to resume
Taiwan pork exports are expected to resume in two years, Council of Agriculture Chairman Lee Chin-lung (李金龍) said yesterday.
Lee noted that no foot-and-mouth disease cases had been recorded in Taiwan for the past 22 months, with the last case being reported in February last year.
If no more cases are reported in two years, Taiwan can stop the vaccination of its hogs after a careful assessment that the environment for raising them is safe and clean, Lee said, citing World Organization for Animal Health norms.
If there are still no cases reported by February 2004, then Taiwan will be declared free of the disease and will be allowed to resume exports of pork and pork products, he said.
TSMC ranked Taiwan's best
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufact-uring Co (TSMC, 台積電) maintained the top spot in Taiwan in the Far Eastern Economic Review's latest ranking of Asia's 200 leading companies.
Rounding out the magazine's top 10 list of Taiwan companies in order were Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), Acer Inc, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), China Steel Corp (中鋼), Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠) and Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).
Although this was a tough year, TSMC and its founder, Morris Chang (張忠謀), "still reign supreme over contract chip manufacture, a business the company helped create and one in which a growing number of rivals are vying to take part, from venerable IBM to start-ups in China," the magazine said.
Ban-loan ratio falls
Taiwan banks' bad-loan ratio, including those classified at risk of default, slipped to 9.99 percent of total lending at the end of October from 10.17 percent in the previous month as banks wrote off more bad debt.
The non-performing loan ratio stood at 6.95 percent, excluding loans under supervision, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
Chi Mei borrows for new plant
Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美光電), Taiwan's second-largest maker of flat-panel displays, said it received a NT$20 billion (US$574 million) loan from a group of domestic banks to help finance construction of a new plant.
Chi Mei borrowed the funds from a group of 23 lenders, led by First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) and six other banks, the company said in a statement.
Taiwan imports Chinese corn
Cofco Grains & Oils Import & Export Co sold 32,000 tonnes of corn to Taiwan, China's third to the country since the end of a five-decade halt on these sales last month.
China's main grain trading arm sold the corn in a 20,000-tonne shipment and a 12,000-tonne shipment for US$125 a tonne, including freight charges, said Xu Lihua, an official at Cofco Futures Co.
Taiwan turned to China for grain after the US West Coast port strike blocked shipments in October. Importers may buy corn from China as an "emergency measure" until Dec. 31 after the port closures threatened a shortage of pig feed, Taiwan's Board of Foreign Trade said Oct. 28.
NT dollar slips
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday fell against its US counterpart, losing NT$0.037 to close at NT$34.885 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.
Turnover was US$330 million, compared with the previous day's US$450.5 million.
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