Thursday, May 30, 2013

Singapore-Taiwan ASTEP is a step closer to signing

* Singapore and Taiwan have recently concluded substantive negotiations on the economic cooperation agreement, the so-called the “Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership” (ASTEP).

* Though the two sides have not set a date for signing the economic pact, steps are taken to wrap up the final legal screening process and ink the deal in the next few months.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A sluggish recovery

l  According to the latest government statistics, Taiwan's unemployment rate in March remained relatively flat. This disappointing number, in turn, offered little evidence that an across-the-board economic recovery appeared imminent.

l March’s unemployment stood at 4.17 percent on a nominal basis, down 0.07 percent points from the previous month. But the seasonally adjusted jobless number actually rose 0.02 percentage points to 4.18 percent, further dampening the prospects of a recovery many thought was forthcoming.

l  At the same time, a leading private economic institute projected that commercial sales in the local market in April are not expected to increase from a month earlier. Citing factors like the rapidly depreciating Japanese yen, many Taiwanese consumers are postponing their purchase plans in the hope of lower prices, particularly for imports from Japan. This wait-and-see attitude has made consumers more conservative in their spending and investment decisions.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Making it easier to visit Taiwan

* As part of government’s efforts to attract more investments from China, Taiwan's National Immigration Agency (NIA) plans to simplify the application procedure for Chinese visitors coming to Taiwan for business purposes.

* In fact, the NIA would like to cut down the time needed for the issuance of entry permits to just three working days. The NIA has been in intensive discussion with other government agencies and a decision is expected before the summer.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Absentee balloting takes a big step forward in Taiwan

In an attempt to allow more people to exercise their right to vote, Taiwan's Executive Yuan (EY), or the Cabinet, approved a draft amendment on April 25 to allow Republic of China (ROC) citizens to cast their ballot in the nearest voting station in future island-wide votes.

The proposed measure introduces the so-called "transfer voting," which, however, would apply to presidential elections and national referendums only.

In both spirit and practice, the draft amendment was considered an important step toward the adoption of a full-fledged absentee voting system. The measure now goes to the Legislative Yuan (LY) for further discussion.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to oppose the draft amendment. The ruling Kuomintang (KMT), on the other hand, plans to have the measure reviewed, debated and passed by the end of the current legislative session—in time for the planned yearend referendum vote on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

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