Abridged version of Ma's New Year speech
January 2, 2014, 12:14 am TWN
TAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou vowed to bolster the economy and urged the people to work together with his administration in his New Year's Day Address.
The following is an abridged version of his speech, titled “Working in Unity to Bolster the Economy.”
Challenges, Achievements of the Past Year
On this, the first day of the 103rd year of the Republic of China and the start of a new year, I wish our country good fortune, and our people, peace and happiness.
For the past five years, I've used my New Year's Day Address primarily to review the government's positive achievements during the preceding year. But it's going to be a bit different this time. This year I'll just be focusing on one key topic — What the people of this nation have done and will be doing to strengthen Taiwan's economy!
Looking back over the past year, we faced many challenges. We had some triumphs, and some setbacks. Overall, it was a rather difficult year. However, Taiwan did keep inflation and unemployment under better control than other developed countries, and the World Economic Forum last September ranked us 12th out of 148 economies in global competitiveness, up one place from the year before. Yet economic growth and real salary levels did not meet expectations. This is our most serious current challenge, and our most pressing task.
I'm keenly aware that everyone is concerned about the economy, and that the state of the economy is the key to the well being of the people. At the start of this new year, I promise all my fellow countrymen that this administration's top priority is to do all that can be done to achieve economic growth. Our most important task, beyond carrying out bold adjustments and reforms, is to lead our vibrant private sector in an all-out campaign for economic growth, so that we can make this the year of Taiwan's economic breakthrough!
In the eight years before this administration took over in 2008, Taiwan ranked last among the four Asian Tigers in terms of economic growth. However, during my first five years in office (2008-2012), annual economic growth averaged 3.07 percent, higher than the 1.9-percent growth of the global economy during the same period, and second only to Singapore among the four Asian Tigers. We have thus made progress, but there is still room for improvement. We have fallen far behind many of our trade competitors in the pace of our industrial transformation and restructuring, and in the speed with which we have joined in regional economic integration.
We cannot wait any longer. We cannot hesitate any more. We must take decisive action and overcome all difficulties to change our situation. With countries everywhere now striving mightily to bolster their economies, only by seizing the present can we secure our future.