Sat, Nov 27, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs 

AGENCIES

FTA talks to be held

Delegates from Taiwan and Nicaragua are slated to hold a second round of free trade agreement (FTA) talks next week in San Francisco, Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said yesterday.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) and his Nicaraguan counterpart Alejandro Arguello will conduct the negotiations on behalf of their respective governments in the meeting, which will open Monday, the officials said.

The two countries are expected to reach agreement on issues related to plant and animal quarantine, investment and the protection of intellectual property rights during the new round of talks, which will be divided into five panels, the officials said, adding that the ministry hopes to conclude all the talks and sign an FTA accord by the end of the first half of next year.

Animation needs improvement

The nation's animation industry could learn from Japan and South Korea -- some of whose animation products tell profound and dramatic stories -- to sharpen its competitiveness in the world market, a Taiwanese official said yesterday.

Huang Kuo-chun (黃國俊), director of the digital content industry promotion office under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, said at a workshop that Taiwan's digital creations, including video games and animation films, display scenes lacking drama.

Forging cooperative relations with Japanese animation creators, whose products have already successfully made inroads into world markets, could be a good way to develop Taiwan's animation industry, he said.

Opto Tech cuts 240 jobs

Shares of Opto Tech Corp (光磊科技) tumbled 6.7 percent to NT$6.3 after the company said it had laid off 240 of its 1,500 staff.

Opto Tech, which makes flat-panel displays used in mobile phones and hand-held computers, said the layoffs were aimed at remedying losses in a display screen technology unit.

The company, which has spent NT$3 billion (US$93.2 million) to develop organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, displays, has been losing about NT$7 billion a year since starting production of the screens last year.

Gold price increases

The spot price of gold marched above US$455 yesterday, setting fresh 16-year high points as the US dollar tumbled to a fresh record low against the euro.

Gold's spot price jumped by US$3.61 per ounce to as high as US$455.30 compared to late Thursday and was the highest level since June 1988.

Shares down on profit taking

Shares ended lower yesterday as investors pocketed gains on concerns a stronger local currency would damp exporters' earnings, analysts said.

The TAIEX finished 76.59 points, or 1.3 percent, lower at 5,778.65 in dealings valued at NT$87.1 billion (US$2.71 billion).

Decliners well outnumbered advancers 556 to 110, while 110 issues ended the day unchanged.

The decline in South Korean shares also weighed on the market, dealers said. Taiwan's main index tends to follow South Korea's due to the similar development of their economies. South Korea's main stock index, the KOSPI, was down 1.7 percent at 858.12.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), ended 2.3 percent lower at NT$47.2. Electronics contract manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) finished down 0.8 percent at NT$126.5.

Liquid-crystal-display screen maker Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管), gained 3.9 percent to NT$13.4.

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