Taiwan, Switzerland do deal
Taiwanese and Swiss companies attending exhibitions or engaging in business activities in either country can now apply for a refund of the value-added tax (VAT) they have paid to the host country, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday. The minnistry announced that from July 1, foreign enterprises with no regular venues to do business in Taiwan are eligible to request a VAT refund with local tax offices, as long as they have paid more than NT$5,000 in VAT for goods or services they purchased while attending trade shows or taking part in business activities in Taiwan. Following in the footsteps of Slovenia and Germany, Switzerland was the third country to have reached an agreement with Taiwan on this mutually beneficial measure. The measure is retroactive to July 1 this year.
Myer launches new site
Australia’s largest department store chain, Myer, will open an online business based in China in a bid to lure Australian customers with the promise of zero taxes on their goods, reports said yesterday. Myer said it would start up the Chinese site and ship goods from a warehouse in Shenzhen in a bid to dodge Australia’s 10 percent goods and services tax (GST). “We will take jobs offshore and we will ship product out of China through our Internet site,” Myer chief Bernie Brookes said, according to Fairfax newspapers. “It’s a bloody shame.” Brookes said the push aimed to give Myer a more “level playing field” with online shopping outlets, which are exempt from GST on purchases worth less than A$1,000.
Honda to sell Hero stake
Honda Motor Co plans to sell its stake in India’s top-ranked motorcycle maker, Hero Honda Motors, and instead focus on its wholly owned subsidiary in the country, a news report said yesterday. The Japanese automaker could earn some ￥100 billion (US$1.2 billion) from the sale of its shares in Hero Honda, founded in 1984 with India’s Hero Group, the Nikkei business daily said. Honda and the Hero Group reached a basic accord this week to dissolve their partnership, Nikkei said, adding that they will seek final approval from their respective boards of directors later this month for the breakup.
New bank rules announced
Brazil’s central bank on Friday announced new bank sector requirements designed to rein in inflation by increasing the amount of money banks had to deposit with the institution. The central bank said the mandatory deposits would be raised from 15 percent to 20 percent for long-term placements and from eight percent to 12 percent for the rest. That would have the effect of withdrawing about US$36 billion from the market, thus limiting the amount of money the banks could loan to individuals.
Massey chairman retiring
Massey Energy Co says chairman and chief executive Don Blankenship is retiring on Dec. 30. The company said on Friday that current president Baxter Phillips will replace Blankenship. Blankenship, who joined the central Appalachian coal producer in 1982, said it was time to go after nearly 30 years with the company. The southern West Virginia native’s tenure with Massey has been marked by battles with labor and government regulators.
UNDERESTIMATED: The agency said that as its previous forecast was guided by the SARS crisis, it did not adequately account for disruptions caused by the pandemic The nation’s economy might grow just 1.67 percent this year squarely on the back of government expenditure and private investment, as exports and consumer spending have stalled, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday. The forecast is a sizeable retreat from an estimate of 2.37 percent growth made in February before the COVID-19 outbreaks became a pandemic. “The previous forecast was guided by the SARS crisis in 2003 and therefore underestimated the ongoing pandemic, which is hitting economic activity hard at home and abroad,” DGBAS Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a media briefing in Taipei. The agency now expects exports
‘SUSCEPTIBLE’: The timing of an intervention, rather than the amount of money injected to the market, is more important, the deputy minister of finance said The National Stabilization Fund would remain on stand-by to shore up the local bourse until the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided worldwide, Deputy Minister of Finance Frank Juan (阮清華) said yesterday. Although Taiwan has stopped the virus’ spread, the fund would remain active in light of fragile financial markets across the world, said Juan, the state-run fund’s executive secretary. The government activated the fund on March 20 after the TAIEX slumped from 12,000 points to 8,600 in a short period amid a panic selloff. The main board has since recovered, yesterday closing at 10,997.21 points on turnover of NT$180.767 billion (US$6.03 billion), Taiwan
‘EXTERNAL VULNERABILITY’: The city-state’s economy in the first quarter shrank 4.7 percent quarterly due to worsening external demand outlook amid the pandemic Singapore’s embattled economy could shrink by as much as 7 percent this year, which would be the worst reading since independence in 1965, with the government saying yesterday that the COVID-19 pandemic had throttled the key export sector. The Singaporean Ministry of Trade and Industry’s forecast — which was a downgrade from the 4 percent contraction predicted in March — came as official data showed that the economy shrank 0.7 percent year-on-year in the first three months of the year, while it contracted 4.7 percent from the previous quarter. The ministry said the new estimate was made “in view of the deterioration
South Korean prosecutors yesterday summoned Samsung Electronics Co vice chairman Jay Y. Lee for questioning in an investigation into alleged accounting fraud and a controversial 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates, dealing another legal blow to the country’s largest corporation. While expected, the decision marked a deepening of a long-running probe into the billionaire scion and his shipbuilding-to-smartphones Samsung Group conglomerate. The company’s de facto leader was called into Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office at 8am in relation to allegations over illegal acts in succession plans, the Yonhap News Agency reported. Lee has been at the center of a years-long scandal