Report urges payroll tax cuts
A government-commissioned report will urge France to cut 30 billion euros (US$39.09 billion) in payroll taxes over two to three years to increase the country’s competitiveness, newspaper Le Figaro said on its Web site on Friday citing unnamed sources. The lost revenue would have to be covered by massive cuts in public spending — far beyond the 10 billion euro savings envisaged in next year’s budget — as well as rises in VAT and the CSG levy that helps to fund France’s social security system, the newspaper said. The cuts would only apply to wages up to 3.5 times the minimum wage, currently set at 9.4 euros an hour before tax, or 1,425.67 euros a month, the Web site said. French business leaders have long called for a decrease in payroll taxes, which rank amongst the highest in the world.
Nissan set to create US jobs
Japanese automaker Nissan announced plans on Friday to add 810 jobs to its Tennessee factory to support a third shift as it expands local production of its core models. Nissan said it aims to have 85 percent of all Nissan and Infiniti products that are sold in the US produced in North America by 2015. “The dedicated workforce in Tennessee continues to build high-quality vehicles that compete and win globally, and we’re committed to ensuring this doesn’t change,” Nissan Americas vice chairman Bill Krueger said in a statement. With Friday’s announcement, Nissan has added more than 2,000 jobs at the facility since last year, expanding the workforce to more than 6,000 people.
Asturias, islands seek aid
Spain’s Balearic Islands and Asturias became the latest regions to ask the central government for aid on Friday, raising concerns Spain may have to expand a 18 billion euro fund set up to help pay regional debts. Spain’s autonomous communities are struggling to cover their borrowing costs and their large debts are dragging on the country’s ability to rein in its deficit as it heads towards a European bailout. The Balearic Islands asked for 355 million euros of aid, while Asturias asked for 262 million euros, the local governments said, pushing the total number of regions that have asked for aid up to eight. The two requests mean that just over 17 billion euros of the fund has now been tapped, leaving it with scarce resources to cover other regions’ funding needs and raising the possibility the government will have to put in more money.
Starbucks faces backlash
Starbucks’ reputation among consumers in Britain has been hit by wave of criticism of its tax affairs from politicians and the media, pollster YouGov said. A report showed the coffee chain paid no tax on ￡1.2 billion (US$1.9 million) of sales in recent years by telling the taxman it was making no profit, even as it told investors the unit was “profitable.” YouGov said its BrandIndex survey of 2,000 people showed a drop in the its reputation score to minus-26 from 3. Starbucks’ Buzz score — whether people have heard anything positive or negative about the brand in the media or through word of mouth — is now minus-9 compared to zero before the report was published.
RESTRUCTURING: Taichung and Taoyuan profited most from local firms moving back high-end manufacturing amid the US-China decoupling of trade ties, the ministry said The government’s “Invest in Taiwan” initiative might this year see NT$627.1 billion (US$21.7 billion) of investment pledges realized, with several firms raising stakes and two dropouts due to customer losses, Minister of Economic Affairs (MOEA) Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said yesterday. Wang made the statement at the monthly meeting of the Third Wednesday Club, a local trade group featuring the top 100 firms of each business sector. Since early last year, the government has launched three programs intended to help local companies grapple with US-China trade rows and the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly through moving production lines back to Taiwan. Thus far, the ministry
JOBS AT RISK? Most Cathay Dragon routes are to be operated by Cathay Pacific or a subsidiary, but it was unclear how Taiwanese workers would be affected Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) yesterday said it is planning new flight services for Taiwan as it announced a corporate restructuring that included the shutdown of its regional subsidiary, Cathay Dragon (國泰港龍), and could lead to job cuts in Taiwan. Cathay Pacific said the shutdown means that the one round-trip service between Taichung and Hong Kong per day and seven round-trip services between Kaohsiung and Hong Kong operated by Cathay Dragon prior to the COVID-19 pandemic would be terminated. “The parent company is planning a new schedule between Taiwan and Hong Kong,” Cathay Pacific assistant manager for corporate communications Moses Hou (侯恩錫)
OVERHEATED MARKET?: The gauge would be designed to provide more reliable information than private-sector data, and help improve policymaking, the council said The National Development Council (NDC) is considering creating a business climate index on Taiwan’s property market, allowing policymakers to better monitor market movements and intervene if necessary, NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said yesterday. Kung made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature’s Economic Committee where lawmakers from across party lines voiced concerns about housing price hikes driven by capital repatriation. Kung said that the council is assessing the possibility of creating an index designed to provide more accountable and transparent information than data provided by private-sector market analysts, and could help improve policymaking. The council would compile a report on
STOCK MARKETS TAIEX closes slightly higher The TAIEX closed slightly higher yesterday as market sentiment remained cautious over the Nov. 3 US presidential election. Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was again the anchor stabilizing the broader market, preventing the main board from falling into negative territory at the end of the session, dealers said. The TAIEX closed up 14.88 points, or 0.12 percent, at 12,877.25, on turnover of NT$167.982 billion (US$5.81 billion). TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, rose 0.44 percent after fluctuating between NT$451 and NT$456. The semiconductor subindex and the bellwether electronics sector