Taiwan drops one spot
Taiwan has become China’s sixth-largest source of imports in the first quarter of this year, one notch down from the previous ranking, because of a higher comparison base a year ago. The lower ranking came after the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and China removed or reduced tariffs on certain goods from the start of this year. The Ministry of Economic Affairs on Sunday attributed the poorer performance to a relatively high growth rate of 76 percent in China’s imports of Taiwanese goods in the first quarter of last year. During the January-to-March period this year, Taiwanese exports to China grew 16.2 percent, Chinese customs figures showed.
Stronger Israel ties sought
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he hoped Taiwan and Israel can enhance trade and cultural exchanges. He noted that bilateral trade with Israel amounted to only US$1.2 billion last year, indicating that there was great room for improvement. In the past few years, the two countries have signed 15 pacts on cooperation in various fields, Ma said, adding that he hopes collaboration will further expand in the future. Ma said improved relations between Taiwan and Israel could also bring benefits to both sides and to the region. He made the remarks while receiving an Israeli parliamentary group at the Presidential Office. He said that when he visited Israel 12 years ago, he admired the country, saying that despite its small size, it had nevertheless devoted itself to the development of its economy and research in science and technology.
GIO urges ‘happy news’
The new head of the Government Information Office (GIO) urged the media yesterday to report more “happy news,” international news and investigative news. GIO Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said at his inauguration ceremony that the media should focus more on what he called “happy,” or positive news, adding that this would make the public “engage more with society” and “view the news more positively.” He said international news coverage was important for allowing Taiwanese to keep up with the latest in global affairs and also helps Taiwan gain much-needed competitiveness in international markets by better understanding its counterparts. Investigative news provided readers with more in-depth and analytical stories, he said. Yang said one of the key objectives of the office was to assist the nation in promoting its soft power and to build a positive international image of the country.
Poetic train tickets exhibited
An exhibition featuring poetry written on mock train tickets opened on Sunday at a century-old historic building in Taipei. For the exhibition, part of the Red House’s ground floor was remodeled to look like a railway station. Boards designed as train tickets were hung on the wall, with a 20-character poem carved on each to symbolize a life journey, said one of the exhibition curators, Juan Shu-jung (阮淑容). “The words in the poems speak of different interpersonal relationships and people’s mental state at different stages of life,” she said. Visitors to the exhibition can obtain cards designed to look like train tickets and can write wishes on them, organizer EZ Studio said. The exhibition runs through June 13. Admission is free.