Taiwan Headlines, Dec. 25

Beef, pork prices to drop, poultry prices to rise in 2017, says ...

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The Legislative Yuan has voted to approve administrative directives related to the government’s decision to lift its restrictions on imports of pork containing ractopamine and U.S. beef from cattle aged over 30 months.
They include provisions on testing and labelling.
All three opposition party caucuses, the KMT, the TPP and the NPP, voted against the directives.
Three DPP lawmakers abstained from voting on some of the directives.
DPP caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said the three will face a disciplinary committee.
Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) and independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) sided with the DPP.
KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said: “DPP legislators have castrated themselves by going against the public will.”
Opposition proposals against lifting the import ban were blocked by the DPP.

The Executive Yuan has unveiled livelihood policies to be implemented next month.
Starting Friday next week, the monthly minimum wage will rise to NT$24,000 from NT$23,800, and the hourly minimum wage will rise to NT$160 from NT$158.
Farmers are to make monthly contributions to the Farmers’ Pension Fund that the government will match for 40 years.
When they retire, farmers will receive a pension of NT$45,000 per month.
Subsidies for public-school lunches are to rise to NT$6 per meal from NT$3.5.
The basic living expense used by the income tax filing system to calculate personal tax exemptions is to rise to NT$18,200 from NT$17,500, which is expected to benefit 20,500 households.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Insurance announced that the labor insurance premium is to be increased to 11.5 percent.
This means an estimated increase of NT$28 to NT$46 per month in an employee’s share of the labor insurance premium, and an estimated increase of NT$84 to NT$160 per month in the employer’s share.
National pension premiums are also set to increase to 9.5 percent from 9 percent.
The pension and labor premium rises will be good for the solvency of both, but will likely slow wage growth.

The nation’s unemployment rate improved to 3.75 percent last month, hitting the lowest level in eight months.

Officials from Taiwan and Indonesia will convene in two weeks to resolve disputes regarding the recruitment costs for Indonesian migrant workers after a meeting on Wednesday left a number of issues pending.

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