Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Yiin vows to finish ECFA proposal in three months

By Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Economic Affairs Yiin Chii-ming (尹啟銘) yesterday promised to complete the economic cooperation framework agreement (EFCA) proposal in three months.

He said that discussions on the pact, to be organized by Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and the Chinese National Federation of Industries, will be held after March 28 when a Taipei district legislator by-election is completed.

Speaking at a legislative session, Yiin said the ECFA would be drafted based on the “premise of maintaining our sovereignty and liberalizing trade across select industries such as petrochemicals, textiles and heavy machinery.”

Yiin also reiterated his support for the planned establishment of Taiwan Memory Co (台灣記憶體公司), to be headed by John Hsuan (宣明智). The state-backed dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chipmaker would not compete with the eight existing DRAM makers, but rather help preserve the industry and strengthen its technological foundation, he said.

“The NT$100 billion [US$2.91 billion] in long-term debt owed by local chipmakers is an issue company executives and banks have to handle themselves. I have never promised a DRAM consolidation plan that would put the eight companies together under one roof,” Yiin said.

The minister said he had no hand in a bank consortium’s decision to lend NT$3 billion to beleaguered ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技), whose chairman has reportedly backed out of a promise to act as a joint guarantor for the loan.

Asked about a recent spike in rush orders at electronics companies, Yiin said he did not see this as a sign of a recovery.

“Our economy is contingent on the global economy. We are seeing an L-shaped progression, with a downward sloping L. Perhaps, we might see a ray of hope in the second half of the second quarter at the earliest,” he said.

Separately, state-run companies CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 中油) and Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) yesterday announced their targets for this year.

CPC chairman Shih Yen-hsiang (施顏祥) said sales would reach NT$1.359 trillion and total costs would hit NT$1.353 trillion, resulting in pre-tax earnings of NT$6.157 billion, down NT$1.033 billion from last year.

Taisugar expects NT$40.535 billion in revenues, NT$37.568 billion in expenditures and pre-tax earnings of NT$2.967 billion this year, a slight increase from last year’s NT$1.875 billion, chairman Hu Mao-lin (胡懋麟) said in a briefing.

The company said the profit rise would mainly be driven by lower costs from closing several factories, investment gains and interest income.

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