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Taiwan Chip Maker Reports Surge in Profits - 2003-07-28

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company reported a sharp rise in second quarter net profits this week. The company says net profit in the three months to March rose by $340 million. The company's sales are up more than 11 percent for the first six months of the year.

TSMC says demand for chips is increasing for consumer and communications equipment like cell phones, but declining for personal computers.

Analysts are predicting a strong third quarter for the company due to strong demand and the write-off of idle assets.

The Australian government is taking steps to encourage ethanol consumption. It is spending more than $31 million on subsidies and assistance to help companies develop the industry. Officials say they are setting a goal for the industry to market at least 80 million liters of the environmentally-friendly fuel by this time next year.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that ethanol can pay economic as well as environmental dividends. "I see us giving a potential new industry, which many other countries, particularly the United States, are indeed encouraging for a range of environmental reasons and a range of fuel extension reasons," says Mr. Anderson.

Vietnam and the United States are embroiled in a trade dispute over catfish.

U.S. trade authorities gave final approval this week for imposing duties on Vietnamese catfish imports, accusing exporters in Vietnam of unfair competition through product dumping.

Vietnam denies the accusations, calling the duties protectionist and a mockery of U.S. free trade policies. A spokesman says the decision will negatively affect trade relations between the two countries.