Wed, May 28, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Business leaders say latest price hikes are 'acceptable'

By Joyce Huang and Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chang Ping-chao (張平沼), chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce (全國商業總會), said his group found the hike in fuel and electricity prices "acceptable."

“The hikes are smaller than expected, which should have a higher degree of acceptance [in the business community],” Chang said by telephone yesterday.

The electricity price hike will pose the greater challenge to businesses, although it was hard to say how much it will cost them, he said.

Chang said that most businesses, including his own, have begun to adopt energy-saving measures to reduce electricity consumption. Some are even trying to change operating hours to non-peak times to take advantage of cheaper electricity rates, he said.

Preston Chen (陳武雄), chairman of the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會), said most CNFI member companies should be able to adjust to the rate hikes. But the major concern was how much electricity would go up in the future, he said.

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) announced last week that it planned to raise electricity rates in two phases, in July and then in October, to reflect rises in global fuel costs.

Roscher Lin (林秉彬), chairman of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (中小企業協會), said that in addition to subsidizing public transportation and taxis, the government should take care of industries that are highly reliant on electricity, such as flower plantations and electroplating industries.

The government should also prohibit the hoarding of oil products, Lin said.

Consumers’ Foundation (消基會) chairman Cheng Jen-hung (程仁宏) said his group welcomed the government’s decision to raise oil prices today instead of Monday to help curb the hoarding of oil products.

However, the government should review the floating oil price mechanism, and publicize CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) actual purchase price, he said.

Matiz Lin (林明憲), spokesman for Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), said his company had no plan to announce its price hikes at present but would discuss the issue today.

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