South Pacific leaders meeting in Samoa were wary of having a single market foisted on them by an overly ambitious Australia and New Zealand, officials were quoted as saying yesterday. \nSamoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele told the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum yesterday that there were concerns national sovereignty would be lost in a headlong rush to integrate their economies. \n"Is unrestricted access to each other's investment and labor markets an ultimate objective?" he was quoted by Australia's ABC Radio as saying. \n"Is travel within the forum region, perhaps via a forum visa, at some point a realistic goal?" he was quoted as saying. \nSamoa is the host of this year's meeting, at which Australia and New Zealand are pushing a "Pacific Plan" to rationalize the smaller economies of the region. \nThe Pacific Islands Forum is made up of Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. \nAustralian Prime Minister John Howard, who is in the Samoan capital Apia for the three-day meeting, is basking in the glow of a successful Canberra-led intervention to restore law and order in the Solomon Islands. \n"Everybody is now taking the Pacific Island Forum far more seriously because they have seen what has been achieved in the Solomon Islands," he said prior to his departure for Apia. \n"If the Pacific countries work together in a cooperative way they can achieve a lot," Howard said. \nA year ago Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other Pacific Forum countries sent in soldiers to separate and disarm militias that had brought chaos to the country. \nHoward said that small South Pacific nations recognized that they must pool their resources in order to survive. \nThe Pacific Plan formulated in Canberra is to have a single currency based on the Australian dollar, a single police force and a single airline. \nAn immediate project is to assemble a combined South Pacific rugby team that would play internationals and field against clubs in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. \nHoward is a late convert to the worth of the Pacific Forum, having been absent most years since his election to office in 1996. But he was a player at last year's summit in Auckland and managed to have Australia's candidate, veteran diplomat Greg Urwin, installed as the Pacific Forum's secretary-general. He's the first Australian to fill the post. \nUrwin's first test is ensuring a future for the 15,000 people of Nauru, once the richest people in the South Pacific but now reduced to begging from Australia. \nNauru has blown billions of dollars earned from mining the deposits of seabirds. With phosphate running out, and no alternative income, there are proposals that the 21km speck be abandoned and its residents move to Australia or another Pacific Forum country. \nCook Islands Prime Minister Robert Wooton said it was imperative Nauru was bailed out. \n"If we don't lend a helping hand in assisting Nauru, we will be facing another failed state," Wooton said. \nIn June a US financial institution owed A$244 million (US$170 million) evicted the Nauruans from their consulate in Melbourne after their government pleaded penury. \nThe parlous state of Nauru's economy was underlined this week when President Ludwig Scotty had to ask for a lift to Apia because Air Nauru's planes are grounded by financial disputes. \nEarlier this year Australia doubled its annual aid budget for the region to A$383 million, of which A$102 million dollars was earmarked for Papua New Guinea, the region's biggest country. \nDuring the past 30 years the region has received A$20 billion in Australian aid. \nCommonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon, who is in Apia for the meeting, praised Canberra's "paradigm shift" on regional matters. \n"Australia took a major sea-change in its foreign policy a year or so ago by its very high involvement in the Solomons," McKinnon said. \n"These are five- to 10-year processes," he said.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the