Asia Pacific (APAC), Global Politics

Cross-strait News Daily Round-up for Dec. 18

Spring Airlines to introduce its Taiwanese crew members in April

Spring Airlines, China’s first budget airline from Shanghai, said on Dec. 18 that its Taiwanese cabin crew members will be onboard for services next April.

Spring recruited Taiwanese cabin crew members for the first time since October. About 60 candidates out of a total of 900 registered participants were granted for the final round.

Spring has a total of 11 flights between Taoyuan, Kaohsiung and Shanghai every week.

“Among these 60 finalists, there are more women than men. They are now going through a health check and will be trained in Shanghai for next three months. We plan to introduce them to the public as early as April,” said Wang Xuyu (汪束雨), Spring’s general manager for Taipei office.

Wang said that these Taiwanese cabin crew members will fly cross-strait flights as well as China’s domestic flights in the future.

China complains about US tariffs on Chinese solar panels

China’s Ministry of Commerce complained on Dec. 17 that the U.S. government’s decision to impose broader anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Chinese solar panels.

The penalties are the latest round in a series of trade battles over the past four years, involving China’s dominance in solar panel manufacturing.

WTO rules prohibit subsidized exports and dumping, which is exporting goods for less than the cost to make and ship them, and allow countries to retaliate in the way, which the U.S. government has announced.

China denied that it has subsidized solar panel exports, despite evidence for such subsidies found in public filings and interviews.

In response, Taiwan’s top solar cell maker New Solar Power Corp said that it expected demand from the U.S. to rebound, benefiting from a reduction in anti-dumping tariff to an average of 19.5% by the U.S. Department of Commerce on solar cells imported from local firms.

The new tax rate is lower than the 24.23% anti-dumping tax initially proposed in a preliminary department ruling in July.

New Solar said that Taiwanese solar cell manufacturers will resume exporting their products to the U.S. after the U.S. Department of Commerce decided to levy much lower import taxes on Taiwanese firms, while hiking tax rates on Chinese firms in its final ruling.

China’s central bank to roll over part of September lending facility

People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank, rolled over a portion of a three-month lending facility on Dec. 17.

The lending facility was from September that was due to expire.

The facility was for US$81 billion over three months with an interest rate of 3.5%. People’s Bank of China used this liquidity injection to the nation’s largest lenders as part of a broad stimulus effort that also included the first cut to benchmark lending and deposit rates in two years on Nov. 21.

Recent indicators showing a continued downturn in manufacturing and investment have led economists to forecast upcoming cuts to banks’ reserve ratio requirements.

Chinese and Taiwanese officials to resume their talks on cross-strait trade in goods next year

Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni (楊珍妮) said on Dec. 17 that the 10th round of talks for a cross-strait trade in goods pact or other trade negotiations will not be organized anytime soon before the end of this year.

Yang led the negotiation team to have a one-day technical meeting about the trade pact with Chen Xin (陳星), who is the director of the Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau division of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Dec. 16.

“Our talk lasted for three hours on Tuesday and centered on exchanging basic information about display panels and machine tools, as well as the automobile and petrochemical industries. No consensus was reached,” Yang said. “It is not necessary to have a solid outcome after a negotiation. Sometimes effective communication is more valuable than a result.”

Echoing Yang, Industrial Development Bureau Deputy Director-General Lien Ching-chang (連錦漳) said that the talks with Chinese counterparts were merely for sharing opinions on the relevant industries, instead of discussing any details of lowering tariffs or so.

“It is important to build ‘mutual understanding’ on information before discussing tariffs,” he said.

Yang, meanwhile, said that Beijing has not set an exact date for signing its free-trade pact with South Korea, but Taiwan has expressed its opinions to China on achieving better conditions than South Korea.