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Investments expected to total NT$1 tril. in '12: Ma

By Camaron Kao--President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday stated that the government is concerned about the shrinking trade surplus in Taiwan and that it will initiate short- and long-term policies to boost the economy.

Ma stated that although the trade surplus has remained positive in the past six months, the surplus decreases significantly from time to time.

In the short term, the government plans to initiate policies to increase investment and exports. In terms of exports, the government will establish offices in regions with increasing imports from Taiwan, such as ASEAN countries and the Middle East. Furthermore, the government will promote exports of the service industry. The president expected these measures to show a positive effect on Taiwan's economy within half year.

As for investment, despite the decrease this year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs still expects investments this year to reach NT$1 trillion, the president said.

Ma stated that the National Development Fund will provide NT$10 billion to invest in companies deemed to have great potential in the service industry.

Ma further added that cooperation between Taiwan, Japan and the U.S. is ongoing. Former Vice President Vincent Siew also discovered during his recent trip to Japan that Japanese companies have significant interests in investing in Taiwan, especially companies in Osaka. The president is convinced that thanks to Japanese technological ability, cooperation between Taiwan and Japan will greatly benefit the exports of Taiwan, especially in terms of the machinery industry.

In the long run, the president said the government plans to create a favorable environment for trade. The government has signed an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with mainland China, the largest trade partner of Taiwan, and an investment agreement with Japan, the nation's second largest trade partner. As for the third largest trade partner of Taiwan — the U.S. —the president said after the long impasse resulting from the beef import dispute, former Vice President Lien had reached an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during APEC meeting that the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks will resume in the near future.

The president stated that via TIFA talks both countries can improve their trade environments.

The president cited the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum and stated that in terms of total score, Taiwan has continued to rank higher over the past three years. The total score of Taiwan in 2012 was the highest since 2007. The president stated, however, that Taiwan needs to improve itself, especially in terms of promoting free trade.

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