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Aerotropolis plan to boost economic transformation

TAIPEI -- The Taoyuan Aerotropolis project could help upgrade Taiwan's economy, transport officials and local government heads said Wednesday at a forum on the multifaceted complex centered around Taiwan's main international gateway in Taoyuan.

The project will integrate Taiwan's numerous strengths, including its manufacturing skills, technological know-how and location at the center of the Asia-Pacific region, to export a full set of services to the world, they said.

“Whether the project is successful will affect the competitiveness of our next generation,” said Jean Shen, head of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

It could also drive urban growth and international connectivity, said Taoyuan County Magistrate Wu Chih-yang.

The one-day forum organized by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications invited foreign and local experts to discuss the various implications the airport city could have for such areas as urban development and improving Taiwan's transportation network.

Michel Sudarskis, secretary-general of the International Urban Development Association (INTA), said construction of the integrated development could facilitate economic activities in Taoyuan.

A well-planned airport city can be an economic hub that both attracts businesses and creates jobs, Sudarskis said.

Citing Manchester Airport City, an ongoing project in the United Kingdom, Sudarskis said the transformation of Manchester Airport into an international business destination is expected to create up to 21,000 jobs for the region.

Nevertheless, certain challenges face any airport city project, he said, as such a grand vision requires coordination among multiple jurisdictions to achieve success.

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