TAIPEI, TAIWAN– In March, Compal Electronics predicted annual notebook production would reach 60 million units by 2010. The company also planned to increase its production capacity in China and Vietnam. But now Compal will take a “less aggressive approach” to investment capacity in both countries and has readjusted its shipment forecasts. Instead of expanding further in China, the company will refocus toward optimizing production at its four existing plants. An increase of 30% to 40% in related production efficiency is expected. Its annual shipment forecast for 2009 has been recently reduced to 35 million, down from September’s forecast of 30 million to 40 million units. In addition, the annual shipment goal has been reduced from 32 million to 27 million units. The company sites a dramatic drop in customer demand for the adjustments. The reduced shipment goal still might not be reached. Notebooks shipped during the third quarter totaled 6.9 million units, and industry insiders are predicting an annual shipment of 26 million to 26.3 million units. Despite the downturn, Compal has stated that its workforce will not be affected–the company is planning to add 300 technician jobs in 2009. Ray Chen, president, believes Compal needs to focus on “continuing its research and developing ability” because it is critical for future growth.
FRANKFURT, GERMANY -- According to ZVEI, semiconductor sales for September 2008 were down 4.7% sequentially (based on the US$) after a 4% increase in August and a 4.2% increase in July. Revenues slid 13% in September (based on the Euro) do to the declining strength of the currency.
The book-to-bill continued to fall, down to 0.93 from 0.95 in August. Christoph Stoppok,Managing Directorof ZVEI indicated that if the economy and the banking sector stabilize by mid 2009, the German semiconductor market would likewise see improvement.
According to ZVEI, the Asia-Pacific and Japan regions continued to grow through September with combined revenues up 4% for the month.
SAN JOSE – The MicroElectronics Packaging and Test Engineering Council (MEPTEC) released the program for its Nov. 13 symposium “Packaging Developments and Innovations: From System Design to Integrated Delivery” in San Jose. Glenn Daves, director of packaging technology at Freescale Semiconductors will keynote, discussing aligning packaging developments with the market.
Sessions include advanced packages and processes; packaging to board assembly trends; microelectronics substrate fabrication and assembly innovation, and design tools and co-design solutions.
LEUVEN, BELGIUM – National Association of Manufacturers president John Engler today called for in-depth study of a “Transatlantic Free Trade Area” between either the European Union and the US, or the EU and the North American Free Trade Agreement nations.
In an address today to Voka, the Flanders Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Engler said that despite the rise of China, India and other emerging economies, the US and EU together account for 56% of Gross World Product. “This gives us tremendous clout, but also tremendous responsibility,” he said. “The time has come when we should give serious thought to the Transatlantic Free Trade Area.
“If we were to have such a huge free trade area, a real integrated transatlantic marketplace, it could well be a magnet for other countries wanting to join,” Engler said. “We could set a high standard for totally free and open trade and invite others if they agree to our high standard.”
Engler pointed out that one-third of tariffs on US exports to the world are paid to the EU, even though most rates are low. “A Transatlantic Free Trade Area could make a lot of sense,” Engler said. “In the US, we already have free trade with Canada and Mexico, and the EU already has a free trade agreement with Mexico. And, I understand the EU and Canada agreed at their Summit meeting last week in Montreal to launch negotiations on a Canada/EU free trade agreement.”
Engler emphasized the NAM continues to actively pursue an “ambitious, market-opening Doha round agreement,” but acknowledged little chance it will be achieved this year. “The reluctance of countries like India, China and to a lesser extent, Brazil, to contribute to a comprehensive, market-opening trade deal concerns me because they themselves are very substantial markets, and they are also increasingly substantial exporters.”
Engler said, “It has become more difficult for countries like the United States to accept this growing flow of products without reciprocity. We continue to feel that the (Doha) negotiations must achieve sufficient ambition in terms of improving market access for manufactured goods, especially in the fast-growing advanced developing countries.” He said it is still possible to overcome resistance through use of sectorals – negotiations focused on specific industrial sectors – “but we must get past agriculture.”
Engler said the NAM does not regard last summer’s failure of the July WTO Ministerial to be the end of the Doha Round or the death of the WTO. “The Kennedy Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in the 1960s took four years,” he said. “The Tokyo round took six years. The Uruguay Round of the ’80s and ’90s took eight years. No one should be surprised if the Doha Round – the most difficult yet – would take 10 years.”
“Rather than spell the WTO’s doom, as some might warn, a US – EU agreement could jog the rest of the world into realizing that they will be left behind unless they adopt a pro-liberalization attitude and press for quicker negotiations in the WTO,” Engler said.
As a first step to a possible Transatlantic FTR, Engler vowed to work with NAM’s European counterpart BUSINESSEUROPE and business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to review the concept carefully. He said NAM would also press European and US business leaders to actively consider negotiation of a Transatlantic Free Trade Area. “We must not allow a financial crisis or unfounded political accusations to frighten us into inaction,” he said. “Let’s instead find what benefit we can in these difficulties, including a renewed appreciation of manufacturing’s role in creating prosperity for our citizens.”