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Ma stresses importance of innovation-driven economy

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that creativity and imagination can only come from an open and liberal environment, like that which Taiwan has attained through its process of democratization.

He made the remarks while meeting renowned economist John Howkins, author of “The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas.”

The efficiency of Taiwan's industrial manufacturing ranks among the highest in the world, the president said.

One of the biggest challenges that Taiwan faces is how to transform itself from an efficiency-driven economy into an innovation-driven economy, Ma added.

During his meeting with Howkins, Ma said that the economist is considered a godfather of his field.

Ma further cited Howkins' “Creative Ecologies: Where Thinking is a Proper Job,” published in 2009, as an example of the economist's celebrated work, which has been widely discussed by members of the international cultural and creative community.

The government has launched programs and passed laws to promote six emerging industries, such as the cultural and creative industry, the president said.

Taiwan has also signed not only the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with mainland China, but also an accord to protect intellectual property, hoping to create an environment conducive to creative industries, Ma added.

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