Taipei to host talks
The eighth round of high-level talks between Taiwan and China is scheduled to take place on Aug. 9 in Taipei, with the two sides expected to seal a long-stalled investment protection pact, officials said yesterday. Sources said Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) would arrive a day before the talks to prepare to sign both an investment protection pact and a customs cooperation pact. He will meet the following day with Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) to finalize the two agreements.
Festival to boost oysters
The two-day Changhua Wanggong Fish and Fire Festival slated to take place on Saturday in a fishing port in Changhua County will offer visitors a new appreciation of the area’s oyster culture, organizers said yesterday. The festival, to be held on July 28 and July 29 at Wanggong (王功) fishing port, will feature music, fireworks shows, seafood and oyster art. “We hope the festival will promote tourism and showcase Wanggong’s fishing industry and oyster culture,” said an official with the county government team that is organizing the event. The fishing port, located southwest of an ocean landfill area in Wanggong Township, is known for its oysters, clams and blood cockles. Its oysters are dubbed “pearl oysters” because they are said to have the luster of pearls. The annual festival will feature pop singers, bands, celebrities, and 24 local folk music and dance groups.
Chiayi-China link proposed
Chiayi Airport could begin to handle Taiwan-China flights by the end of this year, becoming the country’s 10th airport to have direct aviation links with China, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The air connection would be expected to boost tourism and the local economy, as nearby tourist spots like Alishan are among the most popular travel destinations for Chinese tourists, officials form the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said. Three years after direct flight services were launched between Taiwan and China, a total of 50 flight destinations have become available, with China having 41 and Taiwan nine.
Agencies face new laws
Proposed new regulations that will allow punishment for manpower agencies that supply foreign workers who later abscond will force 1 percent of the brokers out of the industry, said the Council of Labor Affairs’ Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training said. According to the bureau, under the proposed regulations the authorities will not renew the licenses of manpower agencies that have a certain number of foreign workers who run away during the first three months after their arrival in Taiwan. Currently, licenses for labor brokers allowing them to bring foreign workers into Taiwan are renewed every two years, the bureau said. The proposed regulations are aimed at holding the agencies responsible for helping their foreign workers adapt to life in Taiwan. Responding to comments suggesting that foreign workers’ lack of freedom to end their employment contracts or change employers is one of the reasons some of them run away, the bureau pointed out that foreign workers can use the bureau’s online system to apply for a change of employer, which it said has a 90 percent success rate in matching workers with new employers.