No new taxes
The Cabinet has promised not to levy any new taxes amid the current domestic economic downturn, a business leader said yesterday.
"Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) offered the promise during a breakfast meeting with representatives from the local business community earlier in the day," said Huang Mao-hsiung (黃茂雄), chairman of the Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, one of the three leading domestic trade associations.
Lin was quoted as having told all those present at the meeting that the government is fully aware of the present economic woes and will not propose any new taxes at this critical juncture in Taiwan's development.
However, Lin rejected a proposal from the businessmen to lower the business income tax rate from the current 25 percent to 15 percent.
TSMC sales improve
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's biggest supplier of made-to-order chips, said sales in October climbed by almost half from a year ago as Christmas-season demand increased.
Sales last month rose 48 percent to NT$15.2 billion (US$439 million) from NT$10.3 billion in the same period a year ago. They increased a fifth from NT$12.8 billion in the previous month.
The company's sales beat the NT$14.9 billion expectation of UBS Warburg analyst William Dong, who added that he expects TSMC's sales in November and December to fall from October levels.
Orders from companies in the personal-computer business have increased because inventories are low, he said.
TSMC said it raised its forecast for shipments of silicon wafers, which are used to make chips, in the fourth quarter. The company declined to give details.
In its third-quarter earnings announcement last month, TSMC said that wafer shipments will fall in the fourth quarter by a percentage in the ``low teens.''
Taiwan's exports rose 0.6 percent in October from a year ago to $US11.5 billion, from $US11.28 billion in September, official data showed yesterday.
The increase was lower than September's year-on-year growth of 27.4 percent, the finance ministry said.
Imports in October rose 5.0 percent from a year earlier to $US10.19 billion, after a 36.3 percent rise in the previous month, it said.
It said the trade surplus in October fell 24.3 percent from a year earlier to $US1.31 billion, compared with a 36.5 percent fall recorded in September.
NT dollar called overvalued
Taiwan should depreciate its currency to spur its exports, the legislative caucus of the opposition TSU said yesterday.
TSU Legislator Wu Tung-sheng (吳東昇) said at a news conference held by the party caucus that the NT dollar is overvalued in comparison with currencies of neighboring countries.
Over the past decade, Wu said, the South Korean won has depreciated about 78 percent against the US dollar, compared to a 74 percent depreciation of China's yuan and a 68 percent devaluation of the Thai baht.
During the same period, the NT dollar has depreciated only 33 percent against the US dollar.
"The figures indicate that the New Taiwan dollar is relatively strong after the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis," Wu said.
NT dollar rises
The New Taiwan dollar closed at 34.596 against the greenback on the Taipei foreign exchange market Thursday, compared to 34.685 Wednesday on turnover of US$540 million.
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