■ Wholesale sales rise
Sales of wholesale, retail and bar and restaurant industries totaled NT$925.6 billion (US$28.9 billion) in March, up 5.42 percent over the same month of last year, according to figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA). Sales of the three industries amounted to NT$2.67 trillion in the first quarter of this year, representing a rise of 6.87 percent from the year-earlier level.
In March, sales of the wholesale industry amounted to NT$648.3 billion, up 7.21 percent from a year earlier.
Sales in the retail industry amounted to NT$253.5 billion, up 1.10 percent. While sales of fuel products rose 11.74 percent, other retail products grew 11.51 percent.
Sales in the bar and restaurant industry amounted to NT$23.8 billion in March, up 5.33 percent over the year-earlier level.
■ MOEA to study AmCham report
The government attaches great importance to the opinions of the foreign business community and will continue reforms to improve Taiwan's business environment, MOEA officials said yesterday.
They were responding to the 2006 Taiwan White Paper that the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei released on Tuesday. In the report, AmCham urged the government to speed up the launch of direct transport links with China, enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and accelerate economic integration with China.
The officials said an IPR court will be set up next year to provide better IPR protection and the government is also planning to lift the restrictions on foreigners in investing in financial, land transportation and rental industries.
■ Taiwan is morally weak: poll
People think the recent stock market insider-trading scandal shows that the nation's moral standards have declined, according to the results of an opinion survey the Chinese-language Business Weekly released on Tuesday.
The poll surveyed 828 people aged 20 and over and found that 86 percent of the respondents believe that moral standards are lower than they were 10 years ago.
Forty-eight percent agreed that to get things done, one needs to rely on privilege, while 45 percent said they would seek help from "influential figures" if necessary. Almost 40 percent said that they would engage in insider trading.