HP chief offers advice
Taiwan should keep politics out of economic issues if it wants to thrive in the China market and develop a higher profile in the international community, the chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard (HP) Taiwan said yesterday.
Addressing a monthly meeting of senior government officials at the Presidential Office, HP Taiwan Country Manager Rosemary Ho (何薇玲) noted that this country had failed to enjoy a similar level of prominence in the global political and cultural arenas, which indicates that the nation has not fully used its successful commercial promotion strategies in the world community.
Ho said she was delighted to see the passage of the Statute Governing the Establishment and Manage-ment of Free Ports (自由貿易港區設置管理條例) earlier this month that will allow for freer flow of goods, capital and personnel between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and with other countries.
The government must use the statute to develop Taiwan into a regional transshipment hub, Ho said, adding that it should strenuously push for the opening of direct transportation links.
Taiwanese invest in China
Taiwanese companies' investment in China rose almost a third in the first half of the year as manufacturers expanded there to take advantage of growing demand and lower costs.
The nation's approved investment in China climbed 31 percent from a year earlier to US$2 billion, the Investment Commission said in a statement yesterday.
As Taiwanese companies invest more heavily in China, so too are their rivals from the rest of the world. Foreign direct investment in China rose by about a third in the first half to US$30.3 billion, while inward investment into Taiwan during the period dropped 22 percent to US$1.2 billion, the statement showed.
Last month alone, Taiwanese companies' investment in China dropped 10 percent to US$296 million, while investment into Taiwan fell 19 percent as SARS disrupted travel, hampering negotiations.
CPC chooses Yunlin
State-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) is likely to locate a petrochemical investment worth NT$600 billion (US$17.4 billion) in Yunlin County, a company spokeswoman said yesterday.
"We are still studying the location, but it is likely we will locate the project in the government-
developed industrial zone in Yunlin," she said.
Chinese Petroleum is seeking other companies to join the project, which was expected to cover an area of 1,697 hectares, she said.
"We are hoping foreign investors will participate in the investment," she added.
The project will include an oil refinery to process 450,000 barrels of crude oil a day and an ethylene plant with annual capacity of 2.60 million metric tonnes.
Tax on new instruments planned
The government plans to impose a 6 percent tax on interest from securities backed by property, a Chinese-language newspaper said, citing unidentified officials.
Property trusts must raise a minimum of NT$2 billion ($58 million) to be listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (證交所), the paper said. Regulations may be announced by the end of this month.
Taiwan is the latest Asian market to allow property developers and owners to raise cash by selling trusts backed by shopping malls, apartments and offices, the rentals from which help pay yields to buyers of the securities.
NT dollar strengthens
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.043 to close at NT$34.425 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$398 million.