Taiwan Headlines, Jan. 7

Data released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) shows that the number of people in Taiwan’s workforce averaged 11.964 million from January to November 2020.
This represented growth of 0.16 percent from the same period in 2019 and is the lowest growth level ever recorded for that time frame.
A DGBAS official said the slow growth can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s low fertility rate.

According to a self-assessment published by the Executive Yuan’s Gender Equality Committee (GEC), Taiwan ranks first in Asia and sixth worldwide in terms of gender equality.
The GEC said its rankings were based on the Gender Inequality Index (GII) introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
As Taiwan is not a member of the U.N. it does not appear in the official GII rankings.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) has released a “Pork Dashboard” to inform the public of the quantity and origin of pork imported into the country on a daily basis.
It also lists what percentage of the country’s pork is domestically produced and how much is imported.
The “Pork Dashboard” can be found on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.

The KMT has begun to collect signatures in the second stage of its efforts to initiate a referendum opposing the government’s decision to lift a ban on pork imports containing ractopamine.
The KMT must collect the signatures of nearly 290,000 people, or 1.5 percent of eligible voters in the most recent presidential election.

Referring to a recent Hong Kong pro-China magazine’s cover story calling President Tsai a “popularly elected dictator,” KMT Chair Johnny Chiang announced the KMT has already prepared to resist authority.
The KMT recently has been using words like “dictator” and “authoritarian” a lot recently–as has Chinese state media.

Car sales in Taiwan were the highest in 15 years in 2020.

According to a survey by online job bank yes123, 55.6 percent of employers are planning to give employees pay raises in the first quarter.

This week has seen the stock market index Taiex set a new record, passing the 15,000 mark for the first.
This week also saw the US dollar drop below NT$28 briefly on Tuesday, which hasn’t been seen in 23 years.
In yet another record-breaking statistic, Taiwan’s foreign-exchange reserves last month rose US$16.51 billion from a month earlier to a record US$529.91 billion.
The central bank bought the US dollar in volume to slow down the local currency’s appreciation.
Central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) last month said that national interests take precedence over his wish to avoid US charges of currency manipulation.

China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways have announced that their suspension of direct flights to London will continue through February.

The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday ordered Taiwan Mobile to recall all of its self-branded, China-made Amazing A32 smartphones after the phones’ built-in software was found to contain a malicious program exploitable by scammers.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement it was “shocked” at the latest arrests of democracy activists in Hong Kong and that the city has changed from the “pearl of the orient” to “purgatory of the orient”.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Clarke Cooper delivered opening remarks at the virtual dialogue with Taiwan officials on Wednesday.
Global Times, the ever-so-entertaining Chinese Communist mouthpiece reported the PRC response this way:
“Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Wednesday in a released statement that the Democratic Progressive Party authorities of Taiwan want to use US support to realize its secessionist goal, and it’s willing to be used by the US as a “pawn on the chessboard.”
This will only bring a serious disaster to the island of Taiwan.”
Global Times also quoted a professor as saying “this is the latest move by the Trump administration to continually damage the one-China principle, and it is also part of Trump’s “last frenzy” on US policy toward China.”
That may not be entirely wrong, though “frenzy” is way over the top.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday the United States ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft will visit Taiwan.

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