Sun, Jun 25, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take


■ Trade

Taiwan-US FTA touted

A Taiwanese official urged the US on Friday to prioritize the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Taiwan. Addressing the annual conference of the Taiwan Chambers of Commerce of North America, ROC Minister without Portfolio Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) said the establishment of a Taiwan-US FTA would be advantageous to the US because it would create a lot of business opportunities for US businesses. While it would not be a problem for large US businesses to enter the Chinese market, small- and medium-sized businesses need a reliable partner like Taiwan to enter the Asian market, Ho claimed.

■ China

Economy set to grow faster

China's economy will expand faster this year than last year as investment and exports continue to grow, the central bank's research bureau said. Gross domestic product will probably rise 10.3 percent in the first six months before slowing in the second half for full-year growth of 10 percent, the People's Bank of China said in a report, published yesterday in the state-owned China Securities Journal. Consumer prices are expected to rise 1.3 percent in the first half, and full-year inflation will be about 1.7 percent, the report said.

■ Economics

IMF head predicts 5% growth

The head of the International Monetary Fund predicted here on Friday that the world economy would grow 5.0 percent this year and next, an upward revision from the IMF's previous forecasts of 4.9 percent this year and 4.7 percent next year. Despite high oil prices and imbalances in global momentum, the world economy "will be growing at 5.0 percent in 2006 and will continue with a similar rhythm in 2007," said IMF managing director Rodrigo Rato. "I think the world is really in an expansionary phase," he told African representatives at a meeting to prepare for the annual session of the IMF and World Bank in Singapore in September.

■ Pharmaceuticals

Taiwan R&D plan approved

Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) has approved an application from three local pharmaceutical companies to form a research and development alliance on gene vectors, an MOEA official said yesterday. He described gene therapy as a new hope for people with cancer or genetic diseases, but noted that Taiwan still lacks key knowledge in producing genetic medicines, so the alliance should be helpful to Taiwan's biomedical industry. The alliance -- formed by ADImmune, Myceanx and CESCO -- will not only develop its own technologies in gene vectors but will also seek technology transfers from other countries to assist local medicine production.

■ Telecoms

US firm to cut PCCW deal

US private equity firm TPG-Newbridge is planning to buy Hong Kong phone operator PCCW Ltd's (電訊盈科) assets by offering its reluctant Chinese shareholder up to 50 percent of the deal, news reports said on Saturday. Newbridge plans to use the offer to woo PCCW's 20-percent stakeholder China Netcom (中國網通) -- seen as a major hurdle in the proposed deal because it voiced objections to foreign control of the phone company, a person familiar with the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity told Dow Jones Newswires. The bid by Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd, which has offered China Netcom a stake of up to 50 percent in the deal, is valued at US$7.3 billion, the report said.

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