Siew leaves on Japan trip
KMT Vice Chairman Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), an economic adviser to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), left for Tokyo yesterday on a mission aimed at bolstering science and technology cooperation with Japan.
Siew, accompanied by Minister without Portfolio Tsai Ching-yen (蔡清彥), is visiting Japan in his capacity as director of the Science and Technology Committee under the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR).
The AEAR is an intermediary body established to handle exchanges between Taiwan and Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Its Japanese counterpart is the Taipei office of the Interchange Association.
The government is reportedly attaching great importance to Siew's visit. During the five-day visit, Siew will take advantage of his personal ties with Japanese officials to advance exchanges in the field of science and technology.
US companies eye Taiwan
Five large US companies have agreed to invest in Taiwan as a result of a weeklong promotional mission by Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫), the ministry reported yesterday.
Lin headed a delegation that departed for the US on Aug. 9. He called on 11 companies, including DuPont, General Electric, Corning, Gateway, BD, DeAmertek, Simax, ITW and Guest Pharmaceutical Services, and secured business worth US$130 million.
Lin said five companies, including Gateway, have confirmed that they intend to invest in Taiwan. He did not elaborate.
EVA creates cargo center
EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) said yesterday it has set up a European cargo center in Brussels, a destination for the carrier since 1997.
EVA Air's cargo service network in Europe and the Middle East now involves 12 weekly freighter flights to London, Brussels and Sharjah, EVA said in a statement.
This is complemented by another 13 direct flights each week to combined passenger/cargo destinations including Paris, London, Amsterdam and Vienna, it said.
The carrier said it will concentrate on increasing the frequency of flights to Brussels, with one extra flight due to be launched in October.
Average income jumps
The average income of Taiwan households has increased while the gap between the rich and poor has narrowed, according to the latest government report released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) last week.
The DGBAS statistics on household income showed that the average disposable income of Taiwan households was NT$73,000 (US$2,116) per month last year. The average disposable income of the top 20 percent of households, at NT$1,799,733, was 6.16 times that of the bottom 20 percent of households, slightly lower than the figure of 6.39 registered for 2001.
DGBAS Director-General Hale Liu (劉三錡) attributed the decline to the government's job creation initiative, which has helped middle-aged and older people find jobs, resulting in a decrease in the number of households where no member is working or earning money.
The economy has also rebounded from the previous year's doldrums, and the income of low-income and medium-income families has increased, while the income of rich families has decreased because of low interest rates, Liu said.
NT dollar unchanged
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday remained unchanged against its US counterpart, closing at NT$34.358 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.