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July 24, 2017

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WTCC head calls on gov't to save economy

Jonathan Huang (黃正勝), president of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce (WTCC), expressed distress over Taiwan's economic turmoil yesterday at the annual WTCC congress attended by President Ma Ying-jeou. Huang noted the staggering economic conditions, pointing out the challenges that Taiwan faces.

"It has been 20 days since we, the Taiwanese business leaders, have heard of the government's Economic Power-up Plan, and none of us have seen any changes," he said. Huang urged Ma to fulfill his duties in leading Taiwan out of its economic slump and creating a fresh "Taiwan Miracle."

"When I asked my fellow Taiwanese businessmen about the power-up plan, no one was completely sure what it is," Huang said.

He pointed out that the number of overseas businessmen has been shrinking over the past ten years, as well as the evolution of industry structures. "The government has neglected to put forth response tactics to the changes, which is depressing to overseas businesses," Huang said.

He also suggested the government to step up its implementation of feasible plans to boost the economy.

In response to the above-mentioned concerns, President Ma said that Huang was previously a consultant for government policy-making, and that his suggestions will be considered.

The president also stated that reviving the economy is the government's top priority, adding that he had asked the Executive Yuan to put the "Economy Power-up Plan" into immediate effect.

Ma further explained that his administration is working on expanding export rates. He also said that the government is aiming to create job opportunities, improve labor wages and help businesses recruit new talents.

The president went on to say that nations around the world have been deeply affected by the eurozone debt crisis, but signs of economic revival have surfaced in September, referring to the rising numbers of the industrial and manufacturing production index.

With regard to regulations on overseas businesses, Huang said that the government should lift out-of-date bans that pose as barriers for overseas capital from flowing into Taiwan.

In response, Ma said that talks of liberalizing certain regulations are in process, but they may not be enough, adding that further changes will be made in the future to attract more overseas businessmen to invest in Taiwan.

Business Leader Doubts SEF Chairman's Capability

Huang said that he was worried about the capability of Taiwan's new top negotiator with China to handle cross-Taiwan Strait affairs.

"Lin Join-sane (林中森), new chairman of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, is a 'nice' person, but it remains doubtful whether he is capable of handling the job well," Huang told reporters.

Huang went on to say that he was worried about Lin's lack of experience in cross-strait affairs and concerned about his ability to fulfill his role as Taiwan's top negotiator with China.

Lin has President Ma's trust and should therefore show his determination to perform well in his new position, Huang added.

According to local reports, Lin, who was formerly Cabinet secretary-general and secretary-general of the ruling Kuomintang, has never been to China.

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