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July 26, 2017

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One person not to blame for ROC's economic performance

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) used to say that Taiwan enjoyed a high economic growth rate compared to the other Asian Tigers — a term used in reference to the highly free and developed economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

However, this remark was rebuffed by National Development Council (NDC) Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who said that "Asian Tigers" is a term for the past. Singapore's gross national income now more than doubles that of Taiwan. South Korea is now a member of the G-20 and sponsors various world trade events. As for Hong Kong, it is riding on the back of China, and as its economy soars, while Taiwan is nowhere in sight, Kuan said.

Ma is president as well as the chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), which enjoys a majority in the Legislature. This almost gives Ma complete control over the government of Taiwan, allowing him to launch new policies freely. However, Ma was unable to lead fellow KMT members to reach a consensus about economic policy. Many say that he should take the bulk of the blame for Taiwan's underperforming economy.

Taiwan has gradually lost its competitiveness. According to International Monetary Fund statistics, the other three Asian Tigers have a higher per capita GDP compared to that of Taiwan. In addition, Taiwan also has the highest unemployment rate.

Taiwan used to see double-digit GDP growth in the 1970s, creating "economic miracles" from the perspective of other countries. However, it is easy to see that Taiwan has started to lag behind.

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