The central bank would press ahead with study and development of a healthy ecosystem for its own digital currency to meet modern needs, but would not get into a race to achieve it, central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) said yesterday. Taiwan has completed a phase 2 study on a digital currency three months ahead of schedule, building a prototype platform to simulate use of a digital currency in retail payment systems, Yang said in a keynote speech at an event organized by the Financial Information Service Co (財金資訊), which oversees Taiwan’s banking payment and settlement systems. CTBC Bank (中信銀行), Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行), Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行), Taishin International Bank (台新銀行) and Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank (上海商業儲蓄銀行) were part of the study, he said. The central bank is to gather feedback, refine technologies and seek support from users, financial institutes and experts based on the study’s results, he said. The communication stage would require a lot of time given the delicate, complex and tedious nature of the matter, Yang said. The monetary policymaker is to formulate a sound and resilient regulatory system for the use of a digital currency, he said, adding that most global central banks favor a no-interest approach. The central bank does not have a timetable for issuing a digital currency, as its focus is on making sure the infrastructure and regulatory framework are well prepared, Yang said. Taiwan is not behind in the development of a central bank digital currency compared with other nations, Yang said, adding that countries such as China and Sweden have not yet set a rollout date, despite being in the middle of trial runs. There are more than 20,000 cryptocurrencies and derivative products in existence, with almost all of them intended as investment tools, Yang said, adding that their values have swung wildly in the past
MOBILITY SOLUTIONS: Tata Technologies’ participation marks more progress in Hon Hai’s efforts to expand its ecosystem through the platform, the Taiwanese firm said
India’s Tata Technologies Ltd has become the latest member of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) MIH Open Platform to jointly develop sustainable mobility solutions for customers worldwide, the Taiwanese company said yesterday. It might include embedded and electrical, electric platform development and battery management system solutions, among others, Hon Hai said. Tata Technologies’ participation marks more progress in Hon Hai’s efforts to expand its electric-vehicle (EV) ecosystem through the MIH platform, it said. The open platform has about 2,380 members around the world, with an aim to jointly develop EV ecosystems and shrink the time to market for products. Hon Hai made the announcement on Facebook and posted photographs, with one showing MIH Consortium chief executive officer Jack Cheng (鄭顯聰) shaking hands with Tata Technologies CEO Warren Harris. Hon Hai signed the contract with Tata Technologies to join the platform at the Indian company’s office in Detroit, Michigan. Hon Hai said it is on track to ship its first microprocessors and other chips used in EVs by 2024. The company would supply chips for its EV customers and for original electronic manufacturers, said Gene Liu (劉錦勳), vice president of Hon Hai’s SoC Design Center. Liu declined to comment on the company’s progress in collaboration with Stellantis NV on new vehicle chips. Hon Hai has set a three-year goal to boost its revenue from EVs and related components to NT$1 trillion (US$33.69 billion), and for EV shipments to reach 500,000 to 750,000 units a year in 2025. The company this year is to make electric light-duty trucks for Lordstown Motors Corp, which is based in Ohio, and produce EVs for Fisker Inc in the fourth quarter next year.
Washington aims to reach “high-standard commitments” on trade issues with Taiwan through a new joint initiative, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) told an investment summit on Tuesday. “Our next steps include developing and agreeing on a road map for negotiations so we can reach high-standard commitments and outcomes in key areas,” Tai said of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. The event — which is organized by the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Administration — promotes foreign direct investment. It ended yesterday in Maryland after starting on Sunday. Taipei and Washington would focus negotiations on 11 areas, including trade facilitation, regulatory practices, agriculture and fighting corruption, under the joint initiative, which was launched on June 1, the Office of the US Trade Representative said. The initiative was unveiled about a week after Taiwan was excluded from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a multilateral partnership led by the US that observers say is to be a potential bulwark against China’s growing economic and political influence in the region. The US is “developing concrete, meaningful ways to strengthen our trade and investment relationship with Taiwan,” Tai said, adding that the relationship was rooted in shared values, and a joint commitment to promote inclusive economic growth that would benefit workers and businesses. Tai’s remarks came one day after Taiwanese and US officials held the inaugural meeting under the joint initiative, which Deputy US Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said would “unlock market opportunities, promote innovation, and create inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses.” National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), who is on an 11-day visit to the US, on Tuesday said that although he did not attend the meeting on Monday, he saw it as “a good start” for both sides to bring the trade relationship another step forward. Kung
The Bureau of Energy on Tuesday extended higher feed-in tariffs for solar energy installations until the end of the year to help boost green energy installations amid a labor shortage and a surge in costs of raw materials. The new rules came as Taiwan Power Co (台電) faces greater challenges to maintain a stable supply of power as high temperatures boost usage, prompting the state-run utility to hike electricity prices for heavy users. “As surges in installation costs have exceeded expectations and consumer prices have been volatile in the second half of this year, the government would share the rising cost risk for raw materials with green energy developers to encourage green energy installations,” the bureau said in a statement. The bureau at the beginning of this year reduced the feed-in tariffs for rooftop solar energy developers to NT$5.8952 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the first six months. They were to drop to NT$5.7848 in the second half. However, with yesterday’s announcement, the first-half tariffs are to remain for the rest of the year. Tariffs for rooftop solar panel installations are higher than the incentives for ground-mount and floating solar farms. The bureau on Tuesday also offered extra incentive payments for developers of large-scale solar panel installation projects, if they can complete the work ahead of schedule. Solar energy developers would receive NT$0.0538 per kWh if they complete construction 21 months earlier than scheduled, the statement said. The payment would be NT$0.1075 per kWh if a project is completed 18 months ahead of schedule, it said. The new rules apply to solar energy developers who began solar installation projects last year with installed capacity of at least 10 megawatts and projects initiated this year with installed capacity of 5 to 10 megawatts, it said.
Mobile phone chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) plans to launch its first semiconductor chip facility in the US midwest with support from a state transition assistance package from the Indiana Economic Development Commission, the company said on Tuesday. MediaTek unveiled the new talent development initiative during the SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, following in the steps of silicon wafer manufacturer GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), which on Monday announced an investment of US$5 billion for an advanced 12-inch factory in Texas. MediaTek said in a statement that it intends to form new research partnerships with Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to collaborate on developing engineering talent, and research on next-generation computing and communications chip design. The center would be on the university’s campus, the company said. It has been working with US universities for more than a decade, but this is the first time it has made such a strong commitment that includes a new MediaTek design team on campus, the firm said. MediaTek operates eight offices in the US, it said. “We believe strongly that being in Indiana means we will have access to some of the best engineering talent in the world,” MediaTek USA president Lawrence Loh (陸國宏) said in the statement. “In the post-[COVID-19]-pandemic world, top candidates tell us they want to be closer to home, near family, and they want to have a real house and great schools. Indiana offers all that and more.” MediaTek said it aims to employ as many as 30 top engineers in West Lafayette by 2025 and up to 10 graduate student interns, with the first interns expected to join the new chip design center in May next year. Globally, MediaTek invested more than US$3.5 billion in research and development last year.
Chinese smartphones accounted for two-thirds of all new sales in Russia between April and last month, Russia’s top electronics retailer said yesterday, the latest sign of how Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting the country’s consumer economy. Several major smartphone makers, including Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co, have paused new sales in Russia following Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, while financial sanctions and airspace bans have hit supply chains, pushing Russian retailers and consumers to look toward China to fill the gap. “The total share of Chinese brands in the Russian market in terms of smartphone sales is steadily increasing — from 50 percent in the first quarter, to 60 percent in April to more than 70 percent in June,” Russian electronics retailer M.Video-Eldorado said. Overall, Chinese smartphones accounted for more than 65 percent of devices sold across the second quarter, up from 50 percent in the same period last year. Mobile operator MTS reported a jump in sales of Chinese phones last month. M.Video said that the average price of a smartphone sold during the three-month period was down 4 percent on last year as Russian consumers shift to lower-ticket goods amid an earnings squeeze and economic downturn. Apple and Samsung stopped new product sales in Russia after Moscow sent its army into Ukraine in late February, but retailers have been able to use up existing stocks.
From left, Terry Tsao, president of trade group SEMI Taiwan, Hon Hai semiconductor subgroup vice president Gene Liu, Administrative Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua and United Microelectronics Corp honorary deputy chairman John Hsuan pose with an outsized Auto IC Master book after a launch event in Taipei yesterday. SEMI’s platform is to connect chip manufacturers and suppliers to provide complete chip solutions for vehicle connectivity.
FRAUD CASE: A person lost nearly NT$190,000 in a scam, which would not have happened if banks had to notify people when their cards are added to a digital wallet
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has asked the Bankers Association (銀行公會) to amend guidance regarding mobile text notifications to alert consumers when their credit cards are being added to virtual wallets, after a person lost nearly NT$190,000 due to fraud, the commission said on Tuesday. Banks are currently required to send texts to cardholders if they spend more than NT$3,000 on their credit cards, but there is no requirement for banks to notify people when their credit cards are added to digital wallets, the commission said. A person hoping to buy mangoes from a farmer through a Facebook page provided their credit card information to a scammer who pretended to be the curator of the page, Banking Bureau Deputy Director Phil Tong (童政彰) said. Thinking that it was normal, the person gave the scammer the one-time password sent by their bank for online transactions, Tong said. The scammer used the card number and the password to add the person’s credit card to a digital wallet, and later made eight payments totaling nearly NT$190,000, he said. As the scammer did not make more payments for a short period, the bank failed to immediately detect the fraud, Tong said, adding that this is a new type of credit card scam. “Before clearer text messages are provided by banks, we urge consumers to be careful regarding text messages that notify of a transaction of NT$1, as that amount usually correlates with the addition of a card to a digital wallet,” Tong said. The digital wallet used by fraudsters is a third-party payment tool, which does not require the authentication of identity for user registration, so it is possible for someone to add another person’s credit card to their own digital wallet, the commission said. The commission is not considering advising the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which supervises third-party payment tools, to
State-run Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (CHB, 彰化銀行) yesterday said it remains positive about profitability enhancements this year due to interest rate hikes, even though economic uncertainty is building. The bank’s interest spread increased 4 basis points in the first quarter, while its net interest margin added 5 basis points, enabling its net income to grow 22.16 percent year-on-year to NT$2.38 billion, CHB said. The benefits of interest rate hikes would become more evident this quarter after the US Federal Reserve increased interest rates for a second time by 0.75 percentage points earlier this month and Taiwan’s central bank raised it rates by 0.125 percentage points, CHB said. CHB’s upbeat outlook came even though it agreed that downside risks are worsening, and corporate and retail customers could become conservative about loan demand. “We will closely monitor global market changes and adjust our portfolio to make better use of investment funds,” CHB officials said. CHB intends to raise its stake in blue-chip companies whose share prices are taking a hard hit from global monetary tightening, as well as increase bond holdings to take advantage of interest rate hikes. CHB said that the central bank’s 0.25 percentage-point increase of the required reserve ratio meant it would have less money for lending, but the impact should be very limited. It said it is expecting decreased demand for land financing and mortgage operations, as developers would refrain from using an active sales strategy following four waves of selective credit controls and two interest rate hikes. Soaring building material prices and labor shortages also warrant caution, it added. GDP growth at home and abroad might lose some momentum to inflation and the war in Ukraine, but Taiwanese tech firms have pressed ahead with capacity expansions, which is favorable for commercial banking, CHB said. At the same time, it would reach out to urban renewal
Tesla Inc is among a group of companies that have been criticized by investors with more than US$31 trillion in assets for failing to disclose their environmental footprints through global reporting standards. Amundi SA, Aviva PLC and Nuveen are some of the institutional investors calling on Tesla, Saudi Arabian Oil Co, Exxon Mobil Corp, Glencore PLC, Volvo Group and others to report impacts on the climate, water and forests through CDP, a nonprofit whose disclosure system is used by more than 13,000 companies. Asset managers targeting environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals have been stepping up pressure on the companies in their portfolios to use consistent reporting metrics as they try to gain clarity and steer clear of potential greenwashing. That is amid growing regulatory scrutiny of the industry and ever-stricter rules designed to slash greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late. “Climate change, deforestation and water security present material risks to investments,” Laurent Babikian, joint global director of capital markets at CDP, said in a statement. “Companies that are failing to disclose their impact risk are trailing behind their competitors in their access to capital.” This year’s campaign is the sixth coordinated by CDP, with a record 57 percent jump in the number of financial institutions signing up. Tesla, which is a staple of climate funds due to its dominance in the electric vehicle industry, did not answer e-mails seeking comment. Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk has previously criticized the ESG industry, even going so far as to call it a “scam.” He also railed against ESG investing theory after Tesla was excluded from an S&P Global index that tracks companies’ environmental, social and governance standards. This year, investors participating in the campaign to convert companies to the CDP reporting system are taking aim at 1,473 firms. Companies that adhere to CDP
EQUITIES TAIEX down on US data The TAIEX yesterday took a beating, plunging nearly 200 points, as investors took their cues from heavy losses on US markets caused by weaker-than-expected economic data. Selling again focused on large-cap electronics stocks, driving the broader market lower, while the transportation sector also came under pressure, led by shipping heavyweights. The TAIEX closed down 199.79 points, or 1.29 percent, at 15,240.13. Turnover totaled NT$243.465 billion (US$8.2 billion), with foreign institutional investors selling a net NT$5.94 billion of shares on the main board, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. CONSTRUCTION Private firms up investment The Ministry of Finance yesterday said that the private sector’s participation in public construction totaled NT$195.4 billion in the first half of this year, exceeding last year’s total investment of NT$188.8 billion. Based on the scale of investment projects currently under negotiation, valued at NT$40 billion, the total investments for this year could hit a new record, the ministry said. An investment conference focusing on the private sector’s participation in public construction projects is to take place at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center tomorrow, it said. NT$224.5 billion of public construction projects are planned for the second half of this year and the first half of next year would be the focus of the conference, it said. TECHNOLOGY HTC optimistic about VR HTC Corp (宏達電) said it remains upbeat about the overall virtual reality (VR) market, adding that it is still growing, especially the business-to-business segment. Telecoms are expected to support the development of the market, HTC Asia-Pacific general manager Charles Huang (黃昭穎) said on Tuesday while launching the company’s latest HTC Desire 22 Pro handset. The company is working with the Kaohsiung City Government to introduce the latest updates to its open-source metaverse platform Viverse to various sectors in the city, enabling anyone to jump into the virtual
Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan, back row, center, and other guests promote peaches from Lalashan, which are known for being sweet and juicy, at a news conference in Taoyuan yesterday. The peaches are to be available online, as well as at agriculatural exhibitions and sales activities that the city government is planning to hold in front of its headquarters and department stores in the coming weeks, the Taoyuan Agriculture Bureau said yesterday.
ECB ACTION? The reading in Spain is expected to embolden European monetary policymakers to push for big increases in interest rates when they meet next month
Spanish inflation yesterday surged to a record, defying government efforts to rein it in and signaling intensifying price pressure as the European Central Bank (ECB) gears up to raise interest rates for the first time in more than a decade. The surprise 10 percent reading for this month dashes hopes that inflation in the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy had peaked and highlights how a squeeze on consumers, once forecast to be transitory, is instead intensifying. The rate is up from 8.5 percent last month and exceeded all 15 estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The reading will embolden ECB policymakers pushing for big increases in interest rates when they meet next month. While ECB President Christine Lagarde this week reiterated plans for a 0.25-point rate hike next month to begin a sustained cycle of increases, other officials have floated the idea of more aggressive action. ECB Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus said in a Bloomberg interview published earlier yesterday that a 50 basis-point hike should be an option at next month’s meeting. The inflation rate in his country, Lithuania, is above 20 percent. His colleague Martins Kazaks said that rates can be raised “quite quickly” and that front-loading of hikes is “reasonable.” The yield on German two-year debt, which is most sensitive to changes in borrowing costs, was down eight basis points to 0.88 percent after earlier sliding as much as 11 basis points. Spain’s gauge of underlying prices, which strips out volatile items, also quickened this month, reaching 5.5 percent — the most since 1993. The Spanish data could offer a prelude to figures from the continent’s biggest economies, with Germany set to report later yesterday and France today. Inflation in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia slowed to 7.5 percent this month, separate data showed. The eurozone itself is to release numbers tomorrow. Amid the price spike, Spanish businesses and
SUB-100 READING: The assessment and outlook among households contributed most to a drop in the composite consumer sentiment index, which declined to 96.4
South Korean consumers turned pessimistic for the first time in more than a year, in a sign of how rising inflation and debt burdens are taking a toll on their livelihoods. The composite consumer sentiment index dropped to 96.4 this month from 102.6 last month, the Bank of Korea said in a statement yesterday. The below-100 reading indicates respondents expressing pessimism outnumbered those with optimistic views. South Korea is among the countries that are most vulnerable to global inflationary pressure, because it relies heavily on outside sources for fuel and other commodities. Last month, consumer prices climbed 5.4 percent from a year earlier and South Korean Minister of Finance Choo Kyung-ho has warned they could surpass 6 percent this summer. Among the components of the headline sentiment index, the assessment and outlook on the economy among households contributed most to the drop, followed by their expectations for individual economic conditions, the central bank said. Their outlook for interest rates rose to 149, the strongest ever, the central bank said. Households’ inflation expectations also climbed to 3.9 percent, the highest since April 2012, it said. The survey of 2,305 households was conducted from June 13 to Monday last week. Separately, feelings in the US about the economy slumped further this month after falling sharply the month before amid concerns over skyrocketing inflation, a separate survey released on Tuesday showed. Amid the fastest increase in US consumer prices in more than four decades, made worse by the war in Ukraine, the consumer confidence index fell to 98.7 from 103.2, its lowest level since February last year, The Conference Board’s monthly survey showed. Feelings about the present situation dipped slightly, while expectations for income and business in the next six months dropped sharply to 66.4 from 73.7, the lowest since March 2013, the report said. Lynn Franco, the institution’s senior director of economic indicators, said
US President Joe Biden’s administration on Tuesday added five companies in China to a trade blacklist for allegedly supporting Russia’s military and defense industrial base, flexing its muscle to enforce sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine. The US Department of Commerce, which oversees the blacklist, said that the targeted companies had supplied items to Russian “entities of concern” before the Feb. 24 invasion, adding that they “continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties.” The agency also added another 31 entities to the blacklist from states that include Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, Pakistan, Singapore, the UK, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, the US Federal Register entry showed. Of the 36 total companies added, 25 had China-based operations. “Today’s action sends a powerful message to entities and individuals across the globe that if they seek to support Russia, the United States will cut them off as well,” US Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez said in a statement. The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to the allegations against the companies, but said that Beijing had not provided military assistance to Russia or Ukraine. It said it would take “necessary measures” to protect the rights of its companies, adding that the sanctions contravene international law. Three of the companies in China accused of aiding the Russian military, Connec Electronic Ltd, Hong Kong-based World Jetta and Logistics Ltd (世捷達物流) and Sinno Electronics Co Ltd (信諾電子), could not be reached for comment. The other two, King Pai Technology Co Ltd (金派科技) and Winninc Electronic Co Ltd (維科電子) did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Hong Kong is considered part of China for purposes of US export controls since Beijing’s crackdown on the territory’s autonomy. The firms’ blacklisting means that their US suppliers need a license from the department before they can ship items
Tesla Inc laid off hundreds of workers on its Autopilot team as the electric-vehicle maker shuttered a California facility, people familiar with the matter said. Surprisingly, the majority of those who were let go were hourly workers, the people said. As recently as last week, Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk had outlined plans to cut 10 percent of salaried staff, but said he would be increasing hourly jobs. Teams at the San Mateo office were tasked with evaluating customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performing so-called data labeling. Many of the staff were data annotation specialists, all of which are hourly positions, one of the people said. About 200 workers were let go in total, the people said. Prior to the cuts, the office had about 350 employees, some of whom were already transferred to a nearby facility in the past few weeks. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla is trimming its ranks after a surge in hiring in the past few years. The company, now based in Austin, Texas, had grown to about 100,000 employees globally as it built new factories in Austin and Berlin. Musk caught workers by surprise earlier this month when he said layoffs would be necessary in an increasingly shaky economic environment. He said in an interview with Bloomberg that about 10 percent of salaried employees would lose their jobs over the next three months, although the overall headcount could be higher in a year. The electric-vehicle market leader’s downsizing efforts have focused on areas that grew too quickly. Some human resources workers and software engineers are among those who have been laid off, and in some cases, the cuts have hit employees who had worked at the company for just a few weeks. Those affected by the latest move worked on one of the higher-profile features
Uber Technologies Inc has reached a deal with an Australian union after years of legal battles, campaigns and negotiations that would offer 100,000 drivers and food delivery workers more protections. The Transport Workers’ Union — one of Uber’s most vocal critics — reached the agreement with the rideshare giant on Tuesday, with both sides backing minimum standards for all gig economy workers and the right to unionize. In a joint statement, Uber and the union said that they also supported the setting up of an independent body by the Australian government to create standards across the sector. The “gig economy” — which uses temporary independent contractors for short-term tasks — has grown rapidly since Uber’s launch in 2009 and is promoted as a flexible way for people to earn money without the constraints of a full-time job. However, there has been a growing backlash in Australia about the conditions and dangers gig workers face, particularly after a spate of delivery driver deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand spiked. A 2020 survey by the union found that 73 percent of food delivery drivers were worried about “being seriously injured or killed at work” — although safety concerns are not limited to Australia, or Uber. In the US, more than 50 drivers working for companies including Uber and Lyft Inc have been killed on the job since 2017, data from the Gig Workers Rising advocacy group showed. An Australian court last week ruled that slain gig worker Chen Xiaojun (陳小軍), who was killed on the job in 2020 while working for food delivery service Hungry Panda, was an employee, not a contractor. Chen’s family was awarded an A$830,000 (US$571,000) compensation payment, believed to be the first of its kind for a gig worker in Australia. Uber general manager in Australia Dom Taylor said that the company and the union “may
GAMING Sony to launch new brand Sony Group Corp is launching a new brand that is to offer PC gaming gear, the company announced yesterday. Sony is looking to expand beyond its flagship PlayStation console and boost revenue from other sectors, including PC and mobile gaming. Sony’s first offerings from its new Inzone brand would be three wireless headsets and two monitors, the priciest of which is to retail for a suggested US$899.99 in the US. “The market has been expanding with a higher interest in gaming with the spread of e-sports tournaments and the advancement of gaming entertainment,” Yukihiro Kitajima, head of Sony’s game business and marketing office, said in a statement. ELECTRONICS Samsung buys Cynora Samsung Display Co has purchased display company Cynora GmbH for about US$300 million, people with knowledge of the matter said, gaining technology for so-called OLED screens. As part of the deal, Samsung acquired Cynora’s intellectual property and technology, but not its engineers, the people said. The Bruchsal, Germany-based company terminated its workforce in the past few weeks as part of the transaction, the people said. Samsung was already an investor in Cynora, with LG Electronics Inc and other display manufacturers also backing the start-up. APPAREL H&M beats estimates Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates as shoppers snapped up its low-cost clothing to replenish post-COVID-19 pandemic wardrobes. Pretax profit at the Swedish low-cost retailer rose by one-third to 4.78 billion kronor (US$470 million) in the three months through last month, the company said yesterday. Still, H&M said that sales might fall 6 percent this month as the war in Ukraine weighs. “Well-received collections have led to strong development, with a further increase in full-price sales and decrease in markdowns,” H&M chief executive officer Helena Helmersson said in a statement. VIETNAM Economy expands in Q2 The economy expanded in the
TRADE INITIATIVE: Hsiao Bi-khim expressed hope that after a 30-day ‘open comment’ period following the initiative’s launch early this month, official trade talks would ensue
Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) on Monday voiced hope that official negotiations on a new bilateral trade initiative could begin next month. Hsiao was speaking after the inaugural meeting of the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st-Century Trade — which was launched on June 1 — at the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington. The closed-door meeting lasted about four hours and was headed by Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator, and US Deputy Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. Deng, who is isolating in Mexico after being diagnosed with COVID-19 there, participated virtually. Hsiao attended the meeting in person. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Hsiao said the meeting was “productive and comprehensive.” Asked about a timetable on the launch of official talks on the new framework, Hsiao said the framework was currently at the “open comment period” stage, which would last until Friday next week. “We hope that official talks could begin soon after the open comment period is over,” she said, adding that the exact timetable would be jointly decided by both sides. According to the USTR Web site, the public comment period, which lasts for 30 days, invites “interested parties to submit comments to assist USTR as it develops negotiating objectives and positions for the agreements contemplated by the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st- Century Trade.” In a USTR press release issued after the meeting, Bianchi was quoted as saying that the US and Taiwan had a “long-standing trade and investment relationship rooted in shared values.” “This initiative will unlock market opportunities, promote innovation and create inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses,” she said. Bianchi and Deng also reiterated their shared interest to develop concrete ways to deepen the US-Taiwan economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth
Taiwan and the US should work more closely on exchanges in the technology sector, in particular on semiconductors, artificial intelligence, telecoms and space exploration, National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said during a visit to Washington on Monday. In a speech at the Global Taiwan Institute, a think tank researching Taiwan’s international policy, Kung said deeper bilateral cooperation would not only create business opportunities, but also serve as a major driving force for related developments across the world, such as digital transformation. The fact that he is leading a 265-member delegation to the SelectUSA Investment Summit, an annual event sponsored by the US Department of Commerce aimed at attracting foreign investment into the US, was a good example of such ties, Kung said. Taiwan is sending the largest non-US delegation to SelectUSA for the fourth consecutive year. Kung added that Taiwan and the US was holding the inaugural US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade meeting on the same day. “Taiwan-US relations are at their best in over 40 years,” he said. The two countries make suitable trade partners thanks to their shared democratic values, he added. Kung also touched on Taiwan-US cooperation with regard to global supply chain restructuring, saying that trade volume between both sides had grown significantly since the US and China began imposing tariffs on each other’s goods in 2018. More direct trade ties between Taiwan and the US have helped prevent an overreliance on China, which had taken advantage of trade deficits in the past to demand technology or intellectual property transfers, Kung said.