Tue, Dec 07, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

Taiwan, Nicaragua talk FTA

A second round of FTA bilateral consultations between Taiwan and Nicaragua has just been completed in San Francisco, marking a step forward in efforts for the two countries to eventually sign an FTA, the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) reported yesterday.

Officials headed by ROC Economic Affairs Vice Minister Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) on the Taiwan side and Alejandro Arguello, Nicara-gua's vice-minister of development, industry and commerce on the other, reached consensus upon the conclusion of the consultation on several issues, including market access, trade facilitation and cooperation for the attainment of a third round of such talks.

In detail, the two sides reached consensus on areas including animal quarantine, technical trade barriers, fair competition, labor, intellectual property rights, telephone and other telecommunications, investment and trade regulations as well as procedures.

The two sides agreed that the third round of talks will be held between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 next year, in the hope that the two countries can complete their bilateral talks and ink a formal FTA in the first half of next year.

Apple to buy more computers

Apple Computer Inc will probably raise purchases of computers and other parts in Taiwan by about a quarter to US$5 billion next year, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

Apple may increase orders on optimism about sales of iMac personal computers and iPod digital music players, the report said.

Apple also hired more people at its Asia procurement office in Taiwan, where the company has about 100 employees, compared with about 20 when it was set up three years ago, the paper said.

China Steel may up bonus

China Steel Corp (中鋼) may increase this year's annual bonus to employees on expectations of higher profits, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

The bonus would increase their annual pay to the equivalent of 26 months' salary from about 22 months last year, the Taipei-based newspaper reported.

China Steel, Taiwan's biggest steelmaker, on Oct. 16 said profits this year will exceed the NT$46.4 billion (US$1.4 billion) forecast made in June because of higher global all-round prices and stron-ger demand.

Formosa ups Vietnam stakes

Formosa Plastics Group (台塑) plans to invest an additional US$268 million on its textile manufacturing and power plant projects in Vietnam, a Chinese-language newspaper reported without saying where it obtained the information.

The additional investment will lift Formosa Plastics' total investment in Vietnam to about US$750 million, the Taipei-based newspaper said.

Formosa Plastics is Taiwan's largest industrial group.

NT dollar rises

The New Taiwan dollar rose against its US counterpart on speculation exporters will buy the local currency after US Treasury Secretary John Snow suggested his government won't act to curb the greenback's decline.

The NT dollar climbed NT$0.13 to close at NT$32.070 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$754 million.

The local currency this year gained 6 percent against the US dollar.

"The US probably still won't intervene to buy its currency," said William Chou, a currency analyst in Taipei at Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行). "Exporters may rush to buy NT dollars after the currency rises beyond NT$32."

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