South Pacific leaders meeting in Samoa were wary of having a single market foisted on them by an overly ambitious Australia and New Zealand, officials were quoted as saying yesterday. \nSamoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele told the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum yesterday that there were concerns national sovereignty would be lost in a headlong rush to integrate their economies. \n"Is unrestricted access to each other's investment and labor markets an ultimate objective?" he was quoted by Australia's ABC Radio as saying. \n"Is travel within the forum region, perhaps via a forum visa, at some point a realistic goal?" he was quoted as saying. \nSamoa is the host of this year's meeting, at which Australia and New Zealand are pushing a "Pacific Plan" to rationalize the smaller economies of the region. \nThe Pacific Islands Forum is made up of Australia, Fiji, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. \nAustralian Prime Minister John Howard, who is in the Samoan capital Apia for the three-day meeting, is basking in the glow of a successful Canberra-led intervention to restore law and order in the Solomon Islands. \n"Everybody is now taking the Pacific Island Forum far more seriously because they have seen what has been achieved in the Solomon Islands," he said prior to his departure for Apia. \n"If the Pacific countries work together in a cooperative way they can achieve a lot," Howard said. \nA year ago Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other Pacific Forum countries sent in soldiers to separate and disarm militias that had brought chaos to the country. \nHoward said that small South Pacific nations recognized that they must pool their resources in order to survive. \nThe Pacific Plan formulated in Canberra is to have a single currency based on the Australian dollar, a single police force and a single airline. \nAn immediate project is to assemble a combined South Pacific rugby team that would play internationals and field against clubs in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. \nHoward is a late convert to the worth of the Pacific Forum, having been absent most years since his election to office in 1996. But he was a player at last year's summit in Auckland and managed to have Australia's candidate, veteran diplomat Greg Urwin, installed as the Pacific Forum's secretary-general. He's the first Australian to fill the post. \nUrwin's first test is ensuring a future for the 15,000 people of Nauru, once the richest people in the South Pacific but now reduced to begging from Australia. \nNauru has blown billions of dollars earned from mining the deposits of seabirds. With phosphate running out, and no alternative income, there are proposals that the 21km speck be abandoned and its residents move to Australia or another Pacific Forum country. \nCook Islands Prime Minister Robert Wooton said it was imperative Nauru was bailed out. \n"If we don't lend a helping hand in assisting Nauru, we will be facing another failed state," Wooton said. \nIn June a US financial institution owed A$244 million (US$170 million) evicted the Nauruans from their consulate in Melbourne after their government pleaded penury. \nThe parlous state of Nauru's economy was underlined this week when President Ludwig Scotty had to ask for a lift to Apia because Air Nauru's planes are grounded by financial disputes. \nEarlier this year Australia doubled its annual aid budget for the region to A$383 million, of which A$102 million dollars was earmarked for Papua New Guinea, the region's biggest country. \nDuring the past 30 years the region has received A$20 billion in Australian aid. \nCommonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon, who is in Apia for the meeting, praised Canberra's "paradigm shift" on regional matters. \n"Australia took a major sea-change in its foreign policy a year or so ago by its very high involvement in the Solomons," McKinnon said. \n"These are five- to 10-year processes," he said.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
DIGITAL COMMERCE: In 2016, only 2 percent of orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that has risen to 10 percent, Foodpanda Taiwan Co operations director Nick Yu said Online food delivery platforms have seen explosive growth in Taiwan this year, helped by business opportunities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, company executives said at a digital commerce conference in Taipei yesterday. When the threat of COVID-19 kept people from going out to eat, more people experimented with ordering food deliveries online, Foodpanda Taiwan Co Ltd (富胖達) operations director Nick Yu (余岳勳) said. Foodpanda started operations in Taiwan in 2012. “We experienced 5,000 percent growth in the past 24 months,” Yu said. “That’s more than the previous six years combined.” In 2016, only 2 percent of food orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that