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September 24, 2017

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Government's export dragon program should detail its scale

The local economic condition has been slowing down since the second half of 2011, and exports in June even showed a fourth-consecutive year-on-year decline. Given the small size of the local market, exports have always been the driving force of local economic growth. The alarming export decline has thus forced the government to take action.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) proposed the 2012 export dragon program, a plan encompassing all possible measures the government can think of. In the program, the government will provide more loans for exporters to enter foreign markets, invite buyers from all over the world to Taiwan, organize business groups to go overseas to look for potential buyers, enhance Internet marketing and help local businesses to compete for government tenders worldwide. With this plan, the MOEA aims to boost export growth in 2012 to 10 percent.

The MOEA may have the determination and will to turn around local economic growth, but the program is not short of criticisms. The most common one is that it does not take into consideration the fundamental problems of export decline in Taiwan — the decreasing competitive edge of local products and the concentration of export products. Over-reliance on information communication technology products, information technology products and electronic products made Taiwan more vulnerable when these industries were hit more severely by the global economic condition.

This criticism, although correct, is not constructive. Despite pointing out these problems, no one can provide a solution for them except to wait for companies to develop better products or for other industries to become successful. If all the government can do is take measures stipulated in the aforementioned export dragon program, it is more important to make sure the government make the most use of these measures.

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