Business environment to soar
The nation's business environment will improve dramatically over the next five years, according to a report from UK-based research body, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
By looking at 70 factors across 10 categories that affect the opportunities for, and hindrances to, the conduct of business, EIU compiles a score for the quality and attractiveness of the business environment in 60 countries.
Taiwan is currently ranked 21, but will move up to 17 by year end 2007, moving past Austria, Norway, Spain and Chile, the report says. Canada will move up from fourth place to take the crown as the most-competitive nation from the US, which will drop to fifth place.
"This is the result of the US' increased exposure to geopolitical risk, major imbalances in the economy, and weakening public finances," the report said.
Only two other Asian countries will be more competitive than Taiwan by 2007, Singapore and Hong Kong in seventh and eighth place. South Korea will rank 25 and Japan 27.
Multilateral negotiations better
Taiwan's representative to the WTO said Tuesday at a meeting of the Trade Negotiation Council that the country is in favor of the multilateral trade-negotiation system being promoted under the framework of the WTO.
Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章) said that every member of the WTO will benefit from the system if it is properly implemented.
The system is especially valuable in promoting free trade at a time when the global economy is in recession.
Yen also explained the government's positions on certain issues regarding the WTO's agenda and he said that new members of the organization should be given a grace period to lower tariffs on imports of non-agricultural products.
He also said that the draft formula for tariff reduction being studied by the WTO could unfairly force low-tariff countries to sacrifice more than other countries.
Yu lauds Taiwan's advantages
Premier Yu Shyi-kun claimed yesterday that Taiwan is the best place to set up a global logistics base because of its location, strong manufacturing ability and free financial environment.
Yu made the remarks when he attended the anniversary of the transshipment center of FedEx at CKS International Airport.
He said the nation has spared no efforts in promoting itself as an operations bases, adding that the "Challenge 2008" six-year national development plan unveiled last year envisioned attracting 200 major enterprises to set up global operations bases here, with 1,000 enterprises setting up regional operations bases here by 2011.
Yu said that to achieve the goal, the government has five development strategies, which he listed as the establishment of free-trade harbor zones, tax incentives, coordination of seaports and airports, barrier-free customs clearance service and computerization of the industry operations.
Rail laying begins today
Work to lay the rails of the Taiwan High-Speed Railway will begin today, an official of the Taiwan High-Speed Railway Co (台灣高鐵) said yesterday.
The official said that the construction work for the 345km railway between Taipei and Kaohsiung is proceeding on schedule.
Test runs on the high speed railway are scheduled to begin next summer, with the line expected to become commercially operational in October 2005.
NT dollar weakens
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned weak against its US counterpart, falling NT$0.046 to close at NT$34.410 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.