Taiwanese patent approvals rise
A total of 5,938 patent application cases filed by Taiwanese institutions or individuals in the US were approved in 2004, making Taiwan the fourth largest recipient of US patents during the year, a government agency said yesterday.
The figure marked an increase of 10 from the 5,928 cases registered in 2003, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics reported.
Taiwan ranked behind the US, Japan and Germany in both 2003 and 2004 in terms of acquisition of US patents. In 2004 Taiwan was one notch ahead of South Korea.
S American trade visit planned
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) is organizing a trade delegation to help domestic manufacturers tap South American markets, a council official announced yesterday.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Venezuela, Peru and Colombia on March 11-27 to explore trade opportunities in those countries, seen as major members of the Andean Group.
With a combined population of nearly 95 million, the three nations are Taiwan's leading trade partners in South America, the official said, adding that Taiwan's exports to the three markets amounted to US$374 million in 2004.
ATM card number rises
People in Taiwan owned 5.7 ATM cards on average as of the end of last November, up more than 10 times from the level in 1991, when each person owned only 0.5 ATM cards on average, according to a report released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.
Taiwan had around 24,000 ATMs as of the end of November, up 13.2 percent from the year-earlier period. The figure represented 1,055 ATMs per 1 million people, compared with 150 ATMs per 1 million people in 1991, the report said.
Local financial institutions had issued 130 million ATM cards as of the end of November, an increase of 17.5 percent from the same period in 2004. A total of 73.37 million of the cards were in circulation, accounting for 56.5 percent of the cards issued.
No need for forensic accounting
The Financial Supervisory Com-mission (FSC) on Monday downplayed Premier Frank Hsieh's (謝長廷) proposal to have forensic accountants look into Taiwan investors' records in China, saying that it was studying the feasibility of having professional accountants audit companies with "unusual occurrences" in China.
To allay fears within the business community, the commission issued a press release to clarify that it was not targeting companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in its plan to hire accountants to audit the financial reports of shareholding companies, banking institutions, securities firms and insurance firms.
These accountants will have tasks different from that of "forensic accountants," who specialize in investigating tax and other fraud, and who provide an accounting analysis suitable to the court, according to the FSC.
NT dollar falls
The New Taiwan dollar fell after Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) announced he would resign yesterday. The NT dollar shed NT$0.072 to close at NT$31.999 against its US counterpart, according to Taipei Forex Inc.
"There will be a short-term negative effect on the Taiwan dollar as people start to speculate who the next premier will be and how that will affect economic reform," said Lo Chung, a currency trader at Shin Kong Commercial Bank (新光銀行).