Quotas charge up China's electric-car market

SHANGHAI -- China's electric-car market is already the world's biggest, but a government proposal to introduce "new energy" vehicle quotas for automakers is further charging it up. Chinese sales of "new energy" vehicles jumped 53 percent last year to 507,000 units, fueled by government incentives. "Right now, the (EV) market has been driven by regulatory and government (subsidies)," admitted David Schoch, Ford's Asia-Pacific president. A proposal published in September could require "green" vehicle production quotas as early as 2018, under a complex system of earned credits. General Motors says it plans to launch at least 10 new energy vehicles in China, targeting 150,000 in annual sales by 2020.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Vietnam hoping for rise in Taiwanese investment: envoy

The policy is mutually beneficial, Vietnam Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei Representative Tran Duy Hai said, and Vietnam is interested in establishing closer cooperation with Taiwan and attracting more investment from Taiwanese businesses. Tran voiced a positive view of overall investment, trade and people-to-people relations between Taiwan and Vietnam. Bilateral relations between the two nations have been improving since the 1990s and Taiwan is Vietnam’s fourth-largest source of foreign investment, with US$32 billion worth of investment, Tran said. Taiwan is Vietnam’s fifth-largest trade partner, and bilateral trade last year reached US$12 billion and is continuing to rise, he added. About 300,000 Vietnamese live in Taiwan, including 100,000 who are married to Taiwanese, 180,000 workers and 5,000 students; and about 30,000 Taiwanese live in Vietnam, including 6,000 businesspeople.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Australia sees boom for iron ore in Trump’s plans

BloombergUS President Donald Trump’s plan to upgrade the nation’s roads, ports and bridges will drive demand for steel and support iron ore prices, Australian Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said. “So global demand for steel, we believe, will continue to require significant exports of Australian iron ore.”The price of iron ore has slumped almost 30 percent since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) last month signaled plans to cut his nation’s steel capacity. 2 economy is Australia’s biggest trading partner and iron ore exports account for more than 3 percent of Australia’s GDP. Iron ore has had a volatile 18 months. Strong demand is driving house price gains and the government is working on measures to boost supply, Cormann said.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Northern water rationing may end

Staff writer, with CNAWater Resources Agency officials are to meet on Friday to decide whether to lift first-stage water rationing in northern Taiwan following heavy rainfall, the agency said yesterday. It is not expected to ease until tomorrow, the Central Weather Bureau said. First-stage water rationing had been implemented in Taoyuan, Hsinchu and New Taipei City’s Linkou (林口), Banciao (板橋) and Sinjhuang (新莊) districts, as well as in Kaohsiung, Chiayi County and Tainan. Under first-stage rationing, water pressure is reduced between 11pm and 6am every day, the agency said. Wang said the rainfall has helped to quench the thirst for water in central Taiwan, but did little to help ease the shortage in the south.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

IMF, World Bank soften language on trade, climate

AP, WASHINGTONGlobal finance leaders on Saturday dropped a sharp condemnation of trade protectionism and references to climate change from a closing statement that wrapped up the spring meetings of the 189-nation IMF and the World Bank. Carstens said that it was important on the issue of trade to recognize the viewpoints of different countries. “We all want free and fair trade and that is what is reflected in the communique,” he told reporters when asked why the language on protectionism had been dropped. He said that the Trump administration’s goal was to make trade more fair and was not aimed at erecting protectionist barriers. Mnuchin was also asked about the administration’s tax plan, which Trump on Friday said would be unveiled on Wednesday.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC



Police arrest suspects in online dating fraud ring

Staff writer, with CNATaichung police on Tuesday raided an organization that allegedly specialized in swindling money from female customers of a Chinese dating Web site. Seven suspects, including a man surnamed Lin (林), believed to be the head of the telecommunications fraud ring, were arrested on Tuesday during the raid of an apartment in a high-end residential building in the city’s Beitun District (北屯), police said yesterday. Police also seized computers, mobile phones, fraud manuals and about NT$230,000 (US$7,575) in cash during the raid. Police say the apartment was the fraud ring’s operational headquarters, where members allegedly picked female targets from the jiayuan.com Web site and lured them with photos of men they described as interested in marriage. The criminal group has cheated women out of more than NT$1 million, according to police, who said they were expanding their investigation into the case.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

France votes in unpredictable presidential election

AFP, PARISFrench voters yesterday flocked to the polls under heavy security in the first round of a highly unpredictable presidential election seen as vital for the future of the EU. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron are the favorites to progress to a run-off on May 7, but the race is too close to call in a deeply divided country. Observers predict a Le Pen victory could be a fatal blow for the EU, already weakened by Britain’s Brexit vote to leave. Le Pen cast her ballot in Henin-Beaumont, a former coal mining town in northern France that has an FN mayor. In the aftermath of the shooting, Le Pen called for France to “immediately” take back control of its borders from the EU and deport all foreigners on a terror watch list.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

INTERVIEW: NCC chief focuses on encouraging quality programming

Liberty Times (LT): The National Communications Commission (NCC) has required the nation’s TV stations to broadcast at least 70 percent original programming, with heavy penalties for non-compliance. Looking at CTS, you can see how the NCC hopes to revitalize the local film and television industry. After analyzing the nation’s capabilities in creating original film and TV content, we decided that quantity should first be increased and quality later. We have kept a close eye on this trend, because wireless frequencies are public property and leaving them unused is a waste. We are concerned about wireless television and will reach a final verdict on it this year.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Aso rebuffs currency scrutiny calls

Reuters, WASHINGTONJapanese Minister of Finance Taro Aso on Saturday said trade imbalances cannot be fixed through exchange-rate adjustments alone, pushing back against Washington’s calls to have more rigorous IMF scrutiny of currency moves. Earlier, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin called on the IMF to enhance surveillance of its members’ exchange rates and external imbalances, as large trade imbalances would hamper “free and fair” trade. However, Aso told the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee there were limits to using exchange-rate assessments to address current account imbalances for a country like Japan. “In cases where ‘excessive’ imbalances exist, they should be addressed by a package of macroeconomic and structural policy measures,” Aso said in a speech to steering committee. “With downside risks and uncertainty persisting, the stability of financial and exchange rate markets is especially important,” Aso said.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Minister to skip Koxinga ritual

By Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writerBreaking with 54 years of tradition, the central government will not send the interior minister to preside over an annual ritual memorializing Koxinga in Tainan, the Ministry of the Interior said, citing the nation’s autonomy and cultural pluralism in its decision. The Executive Yuan in April the following year issued a resolution to that effect and set the date of the event as April 29, with the interior minister serving as the master of ceremonies. During a legislative session last month, Yotaka told Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) that he should not officiate the Koxinga ceremony this year. “The ministry will play no role whatsoever,” he said, adding that Yeh would not attend the Koxinga event in any capacity and that Lai is to be its master of ceremonies. Cheng Ying-hung said the Koxinga ritual was overseen by the Tainan City Government in its early days and the central government only began officiating it on the suggestion of the Taiwan Provincial Consultative Council.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Saudi Arabia restores cut allowances

Reuters, RIYADHSaudi Arabian King Salman on Saturday issued a royal decree restoring financial allowances for civil servants and military personnel that had been cut under austerity measures. “The royal order returns all allowances, financial benefits, and bonuses to civil servants and military staff,” said the decree, broadcast on state-run Ekhbariya TV. In September last year, Saudi Arabia cut ministers’ salaries by 20 percent and scaled back financial perks for public sector employees in one of the energy-rich kingdom’s most drastic measures to save money at a time of low oil prices. “The government has conducted a review of the measures initiated in the fall in relation to the public-sector employees’ allowances. Prince Abdulaziz is a long-time energy policy official who was appointed deputy oil minister in 2015.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Gazans create own limo from five different cars

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories -- A Gazan firm has found a way to add style to weddings in the Palestinian enclave despite being unable to import a limousine: make one with parts from five cars. Wedding planner Salama al-Odi sought to import a limousine as part of the various offerings to young Gazans by the firm he heads, Farha, but said he was unable to. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for 10 years, with the entry and exit of goods and people tightly controlled by Israel. Its sole crossing with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years. Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, run by Islamist movement Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Bad corporate debts are impeding India’s growth

As a result, Indian banks are now saddled with some of the highest levels of bad debts in the emerging markets according to the IMF. “Banks are so stretched that they’re not even lending to healthy companies, holding back growth,” Mumbai-based economist Rajeswari Sengupta said. However, economists say that growth is fragile because it is being driven by consumer spending rather than investment. BAD LOANS AND NPASBy September last year, about 16.6 percent of loans to corporates — or about 8.4 percent of GDP — had been declared non-performing, according to Credit Suisse. FORCED CLEAN-UPHowever, more than a year into the forced clean-up, “corporate NPL formation still hasn’t abated at both [state-owned] and private corporate lenders,” the Credit Suisse report said.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

CPC, Formosa reducing prices of gasoline, diesel

Staff writerCPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) yesterday said it would lower gasoline and diesel prices as of midnight last night, following three consecutive weeks of price hikes. The decreases of NT$0.5 per liter for gasoline and NT$0.6 per liter for diesel products, effective today, reflect a downward pressure on international crude oil prices due to technical factors and a projected increase in the output of shale oil in the US, the state-owned oil refiner said in a statement. CPC said its average crude oil costs last week fell US$2.06 per barrel from the previous week to US$52.37 per barrel. Taking into account the New Taiwan dollar’s appreciation of NT$0.128 against the US dollar, CPC said it would cut wholesale prices for diesel and gasoline products by 3.35 percent, which translates into a cost at the pump of NT$21.8 per liter for super diesel, NT$24.2 per liter for 92 octane unleaded, NT$25.7 per liter for 95 octane unleaded and NT$27.7 per liter for 98 octane unleaded. Privately run Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) on Saturday announced similar cuts.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

EU mulls laws on platforms’ fight against hate speech

Reuters, BRUSSELSThe EU is considering legislative measures to harmonize how online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google take down hate speech and incitement to violence, a draft document seen by reporters shows. The proliferation of hate speech and fake news on social media has led to firms coming under increased pressure to take it down quickly. Facebook Inc, Twitter, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft Corp last year agreed to an EU code of conduct to tackle online hate speech within 24 hours, but were criticized by the commission for not being fast enough. However, they do have to take down illegal content when notified. An EU official said the commission was considering adopting a so-called “good Samaritan” principle whereby online platforms would not be held liable for content if they actively searched for illegal content on their Web sites, hoping this would make companies more proactive.

April 23, 2017 16:07 UTC