■ COA to boost brands
The Council of Agriculture is building a brand name certification system for locally produced fruit and vegetables in an effort to help consumers tell local produce from imported goods, an official at the council's Hualien District Agricultural Improvement Station said yesterday. Sales of locally grown agricultural products have been affected by an influx of cheaper foreign goods since Taiwan lifted major trade barriers on agricultural imports after becoming an official member of the WTO in 2002. In an attempt to address the issue, the Hualien station is informing local farmers about the branding idea, as well as establishing the concept of brand name identification among consumers and a quality classification system for brand name fruit and vegetables, the council said.
■ Trade with China up
The nation's two-way trade with China in the January-March period rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier to US$19.33 billion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. The figure accounted for 20 percent of the nation's total trade, representing a 0.8 percentage point increase, the ministry said. The nation's exports to China in the first three months of this year rose 13.8 percent year-on-year to US$14.01 billion, while imports from China grew 17.9 percent to US$5.32 billion, the ministry said. During the same period, the nation's trade surplus with China rose 11.3 percent from a year earlier to US$8.69 billion, the ministry said.
■ China addresses piracy
China said it would fine individuals and companies that distribute illegally copied music, movies, photographs and text over the Internet up to 100,000 yuan (US$12,500) from July 1. Chinese authorities may also confiscate computers and other equipment used for making and distributing pirated material, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in a statement dated May 18 and posted on its Web site yesterday. Chinese individuals and companies found to be selling equipment and technology designed to allow illegal copying of music, movies and other material may also be fined up to 100,000 yuan, according to new regulations that were published in the statement. Internet service providers, including companies that host Web sites on servers, must give authorities names and contact information of the owners of sites that distribute pirated material, the statement said. Companies may use copyrighted material for educational purposes, in reviews of movies or music and within news reports, the statement said.
■ Dongbu denies KGI takeover
Dongbu Securities Co, a South Korean broker, denied a report that it may buy 51 percent of KGI Securities Co (中信證券), an unlisted rival controlled by Koos Group.
"Nothing has been determined" regarding a possible takeover of KGI Securities, Dongbu Securities said in a regulatory filing to the Korea Exchange yesterday after the market closed. "We are reviewing measures to sustain our growth through mergers and acquisitions and a new capital injection." Dongbu Securities wants to maintain competitiveness ahead of the implementation of a draft bill designed to integrate South Korea's capital markets, the statement said. The bill would allow brokers to provide settlement services and more diversified services, depending on the size of their equity capital, and let overseas brokers offer retail financial services, it said.