• Taiwan ranked 13th globally in economic freedom

    Taiwan's Computex expo. (By Central News Agency)Taipei, Feb. 2 (CNA) Taiwan was listed 13th in the 2018 global rankings for economic freedom, a fall of two places from last year due mainly to a lower score in investment freedom, according to the U.S. Heritage Foundation, which released the index Friday.
    A year after Taiwan achieved its highest ranking of 11th on the index, which was first compiled in 1995, it fell to 13th in the latest rankings, with declines in property rights, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom and investment freedom.
    Meanwhile, Taiwan recorded improvements in government integrity, judicial effectiveness, government spending, tax burden and fiscal health, with its performance in trade freedom and financial freedom unchanged.
    A drop of 5 points in investment freedom and a rise of 7.1 points in fiscal health canceled each other out to give Taiwan an overall economic freedom score of 76.6, which is 0.1 points higher than its 2017 score, the Heritage Foundation report noted.
    Overall, the report found that in Taiwan, "a relatively well-developed commercial code and open-market policies that facilitate the flow of goods and capital have enabled small and medium-size enterprises to become the backbone of Taiwan's expansion."
    Taiwan ranked 5th among the 43 countries in the Asia Pacific, with an overall score that is above the regional average of 61.0 and the global average of 61.1.
    However, the Heritage Foundation recommended that the country "make more reforms to increase competition and openness" in order to reduce its reliance on China and increase trade with other Asian countries.
    The National Development Council released a press statement in response to the ranking saying it will continue to monitor the freeing up of Taiwan's financial sector as the government makes headway with its initiative to eliminate barriers to foreign investment in the country.
    The top six countries and territories in descending order were Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia and Ireland.
    The results of the 2018 index are based on data from each country between July 2016 and June 2017. (By Kuan-lin Liu and Chu Tse-wei)

  • Indonesia to launch Taiwanese agriculture zone

    Indonesia about to launch Taiwanese agricultural zone. (By Central News Agency)TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Indonesia is preparing to launch a 1,000-hectare “Taiwanese agricultural zone” which can serve as a model for the island’s New Southbound Policy, Radio Taiwan International reported.

  • Taiwan Dendrobium orchid exports greenlighted for US market

    Taiwan-cultivated Dendrobium orchids (Courtesy of COA) (Taiwan Today) Taiwan-cultivated Dendrobium orchids potted in growing media can be exported to the American market commencing March 1 following the recent classification of the plants as safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    The USDA ruling makes Taiwan the first country in the world to enjoy this privilege and is welcomed by the government, the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture said Jan. 30, adding that it promises to create large-scale business opportunities for local exporters.
    According to the COA, the decision to greenlight Dendrobium exports under a systems approach was made after careful analysis by scientists from USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. It follows similar classifications of homegrown Phalaenopsis and Onicidium orchids in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
    Taiwan-cultivated Dendrobium orchids are highly prized the world over for their diverse colors, shapes and sizes. The bulk of local production in the form of cut flowers is sent to Japan, a trend that may change as U.S. shipments of the plant come on line.
    Since exports of Taiwan-cultivated Phalaenopsis orchids in growing media started 14 years ago, there has been a significant improvement in local growers’ cultivation techniques, greenhouse management practices and production efficiency. These accomplishments are highly recognized in the global market, the COA said.
    The latest COA statistics reveal that exports of Taiwan-cultivated Phalaenopsis orchids potted in growing media to the U.S. totaled US$51.23 million in 2017, up 4.19 percent from the year before.
    According to the COA, Taiwan’s Dendrobium growers are expected to experience similar success in the U.S. and further strengthen the country’s reputation as a premium supplier of the orchid. 

  • Taiwan files claim with WTO for compensation over US solar panel tariff

    File Photo: Workers at a solar panel factory in Ariz. U.S. Sept., 2012 (By Associated Press)TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Tuesday Jan. 30, a filing at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, showed that Taiwan had joined South Korea in lodging an official complaint with the United States over recent import tariffs introduced by the Trump administration on solar panels.

  • Taiwan approves takeover of EBC TV group by property developer

    NCC approves EBC takeover. (By Central News Agency)TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Property developer Mao Te International Investment Co. (茂德國際) has received a green light from the National Communications Commission (NCC, 國家通訊傳播委員會) to take over Eastern Broadcasting Co. (EBC, 東森電視) for NT$12.3 billion (US$422 million) in a move likely to conclude years of failed attempts, reports said Wednesday.

  • Cargo ship sinks en route from Taiwan to South Korea; 8 people missing

    File photo of cargo ship Rena, running aground in Oct. 2011. (By Wikimedia Commons)TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Jan. 29 media reported that a cargo ship, Jian Hong 1 (建宏1號) carrying sugar from Taichung, Taiwan to South Korea, had reportedly encountered difficulties and begun to sink just after 10 p.m on the evening of Jan. 28.

    Erroneous reports suggested that all members of the crew had been rescued that same day. However, subsequent reports on Jan. 30 have since stated that there was a joint rescue operation between Chinese and Taiwanese forces to search for at least eight people who are still missing at sea.

    CNA reports the ship sunk about 140 nautical miles north of Taipei, off the coast of Wenzhou. Earlier reports suggested the accident was about 80 nautical miles northwest of Taipei, reports Maritime Bulletin.

  • Taiwan ranks 8th in the world for financial secrecy

    Taiwan ranks 8th in global financial secrecy. (Image from Max Pixel) TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — On Tuesday the Tax Justice Network (TJN) published a list of nations ranked in terms of how opaque their financial practices are, “The Financial Secrecy Index,” and this year Taiwan debuts on the list’s top 10 at number 8.

  • Housing transactions in Taiwan made a rebound in 2017 after 3-year slump

    (By Central News Agency)TAIPEI (CNA) — Transactions of residential and commercial property in Taiwan staged a rebound in 2017, ending three straight years of declines, according to the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

    After transactions of homes, offices and shops in Taiwan dipped to an all-time low in 2016, sales in 2017 rose 8 percent year-on-year to 266,086 units, according to data from the ministry, which started tallying property transaction figures in 1991.

    Tseng Ching-der (曾敬德), a research manager with Sinyi Realty Inc., said the rebound showed the property market has stabilized after the gloomy performance in 2016.

    Analysts said the rebound was driven by sellers cutting prices to spur activity after the low level of transactions in 2016.

    Tseng said that with housing transactions rebounding, property prices are expected to turn stable and trade in a narrower range this year.

    The figures were in line with property sales data from Taiwan's six major cities reported earlier this month, which showed that 203,879 homes, shops and offices were bought and sold in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung in 2017, up 11.85 percent from 2016.

    It was also the first time in four years that housing transactions in the six cities posted a year-on-year increase.

    Housing sales in Taipei, the most watched property market in Taiwan, grew 9.06 percent in 2017 from a year earlier to 23,447 units in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the number of housing units transferred through inheritance rose 3 percent in 2017 from a year earlier to 53,521, also the most since data was first compiled in 1991, the MOI said.

    The number of housing units transferred as gifts also rose 3 percent from a year earlier to 42,994 because of changes in the gift tax, the MOI said.

    The MOI said the number of houses transferred through auctions of properties used as collateral also rose 6 percent in 2017 to 4,899. 

  • Taiwan’s Foxconn and ITRI among Top 100 Global Innovators

    A Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China. (By Associated Press)TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Apple Inc. subcontractor Foxconn Technology, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. (鴻海), and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) are the Taiwanese names among the 2017 Top 100 Global Innovators chosen by Clarivate Analytics.