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S. Korean expert says Taiwan growth to pick up in H2

TAIPEI -- Taiwan is forecast to see stronger economic growth in the second half of this year as a result of a recovery in its electronics industry, a major economic driver, a South Korean economist said yesterday in Taipei.

Although Taiwan's exports have declined in recent months, its electronics sector has been recovering, said Lee Jong-wha, who served as a senior economic adviser to former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, at a news conference.

Lee predicted that Taiwan's export volume in the electronics sector will revive again over time and will further rebound during the second half of the year.

"Taiwan's economy will have much stronger growth, especially in the second half of this year," he told the local media.

Lee also suggested that Taiwan should diversify its economic structure for "more balanced economic growth."

For example, Taiwan has a competitive advantage in the areas of biomedicine, biology and heath care, which the export-reliant island could take further advantage of, he said.

Taiwan and South Korea have a similarity in that their electronics industries account for a major share of their total exports, he said, but added that South Korea also has other major export products such as automobiles and machinery.

Electronics account for less than 30 percent of South Korea's total exports, while such products make up more than 50 percent of Taiwan's total exports, he added.

Lee is in Taiwan to attend a forum on Asian economies held that day in Taipei, during which he and an economist from Japan, Eisuke Sakakibara, were scheduled to share their views on the outlooks for various Asian economies.

Sakakibara also attended the news conference, during which he forecast that the Japanese yen will not depreciate farther.

The Japanese government has carried out monetary easing policies since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012, he said, attributing those policies to the yen's depreciation.

Abe and Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda are committed to monetary easing in an effort to bring about economic recovery, he said.

Unless more aggressive policies are implemented, Sakakibara said, the Japanese yen will not continue to depreciate.

He also noted that Japan's economy is recovering, partly because of the monetary easing policies. This year's economic growth could reach as much as 2.5 percent, he added.

Because of the weaker yen, Taiwan also suffered a decline in its export orders.

Export orders from Japan received by Taiwanese companies fell by 15.6 percent in March on a year-to year basis, according to recent statistics released by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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