Sogo to reopen today
Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) will reopen its Chunghsiao East Road store today after closing its doors for a three-day long disinfection.
"We've conducted a thoroughly disinfection and hope the move will help us regain consumer confidence," Sogo vice president Lee Kuang-rong (李光榮) said yesterday.
To lure customers back, the retailer will launch a five-day sale today. Selected items including cosmetics, clothing and consumer electronics are expected to be marked down 50 percent.
Sogo plans to donate revenue generated from the sale to SARS-hit victims.
Sogo, which saw a 90-percent drop in consumer traffic after two shoppers and a cashier developed SARS-like symptoms last week, said Mother's Day revenue dropped 50 percent from last year's NT$520 million, according to Lee.
A total of 175 Sogo employees were send to home for quarantine last Tuesday. To date, these staff has shown no signs of SARS symptoms, Lee said.
Food fair canceled
An international food fair scheduled for Taipei next month has been canceled due to SARS, the fair's organizer, the China External Trade Development Center (CETRA, 外貿協會), said yesterday.
CETRA said 575 manufacturers were scheduled to take part in Food Taipei 2003 slated for June 11to 14 at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall.
CETRA polled manufacturers and found that about 80 percent of them wanted to withdraw from the fair. Many said their foreign buyers had informed them they would be unable to come to Taipei due to the SARS outbreak.
Flat-panel forum victim of SARS
An international flat-panel conference originally slated to take place May 27 and 28 in Taipei has been postponed due to concerns over SARS, the event's organizers announced over the weekend.
Taiwan was the No. 2 maker of the panels used in flat-screen computer displays and televisions last year, when it produced 30 percent of the world's flat panels, according to US-based computer display research firm DisplaySearch.
This was the first time Taiwan was to host the annual conference. Organizers DisplaySearch, CETRA and the Japan Interchange Association now plan to hold the event on Aug.14 and 15.
Duty clarified on mask imports
Imports of surgical masks are tax-free up to NT$3,000, an official of the Taipei Customs Bureau said yesterday. If the total value of the import, including shipping costs, exceeds NT$3,000, the importer must pay import tax and business tax, he said. If the FOB value exceeds US$20,000, an import license is required.
The business tax on imported surgical masks is 5 percent. The tariff on surgical masks made of textiles is 10 percent and the tariff on special masks with removable filters is 3 percent.
Epidemic could hurt exports
The spread of the SARS virus could cut the nation's export orders by NT$40 billion (US$1.15 billion) for the second quarter of this year, a local newspaper said yesterday.
Citing a Ministry of Economic Affairs survey, the paper said the outbreak of SARS could see sales for domestic business reduced by NT$60 billion for the same period.
In the first quarter of this year, export orders rose 10.17 percent from a year earlier to US$37.67 billion. Export orders last year totaled US$150.95 billion, up 11.23 percent.
NT dollar rises
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.06 to close at NT$34.715 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.