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Cabinet unveils five-point economic reform strategy

By Ann Yu--The Executive Yuan announced multiple reform tactics to help invigorate Taiwan's economy at a press conference yesterday, as Taiwan struggles to maintain a gross domestic product (GDP) growth level above 1 percent. The press conference was led by Premier Sean Chen, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) and Minister without Portfolio Kuang Chung-ming (管中閔).

Kuang, leader of the Responsive Actions to the Global Economy Committee commissioned by the Executive Yuan, expressed high hopes of generating a GDP growth between 1 to 1.6 percent each year after initiating the changes. “It would be difficult to revive a 2-percent economic growth for this year, but maintaining 1 percent shouldn't be a problem,” he said, attributing the slump to the sluggish activities of investors and consumers.

According to the Executive Yuan, the economic reformation tactics aim to tackle three issues — inadequate investments, shrinking export rates and decreasing consumer activities. Officials proposed five main reform tactics centering on business, talent recruitment and government — creating innovative and diverse industries, expanding export markets, strengthening industry worker skills, instigating investments in public construction projects and enhancing the government's efficiency in all sectors.

Since Taiwan's export rates concentrate excessively on overseas sales of ICT products (information, communication and technology), exports are heavily affected by weakened international markets. The Executive Yuan stated that the development of emerging markets, attracting overseas Taiwanese entrepreneurs and creating innovative industries would greatly benefit export rates. “Our emerging markets are on the right track, with a growth of 3 percent between January and July, “ the premier stated.

In an effort to expand Taiwan's international trade, the government pledged to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within the next eight years as a means to participate in regional economic integration. The TPP is an agreement that liberalizes the regional economies of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

As for boosting investments, the government aims to broaden public construction projects to bring in investments from mainland Chinese, overseas Taiwanese and private individuals. Shih stated that the goal is to bring in NT$1 trillion in private investment for public construction every year. “In addition, we will expand bids to more foreign investments, which hopefully will bring in NT$33.5 billion in 2013 and NT$44 billion in 2014,” he added.

As Taiwanese entrepreneurs began investing in overseas companies since 2000 due to cheaper costs, the government is luring them back to boost domestic markets. “We hope the overseas Taiwanese companies can bring in advanced skills to our industries, and not just increased cash flow,” stated the premier.

In response to a talent shortage lamented by most local companies, the government has implemented plans to strengthen workers' skills and lessen the gap between tech school education and industry needs. The Executive Yuan proposed a plan to incorporate industry leaders into school systems, thereby increasing the number of teachers who are industry leaders by 10 percent. This would also allow for teachers with practical experience to increase in number by 25 percent each year.

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