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May 27, 2017

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Ma says gov't must promote Free Economic Pilot Zones

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday said that every official will work even harder this year to better improve Taiwan's economy.

Ma went to Dalongdong Baoan Temple along with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) to pray for blessings on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Ma said that the government is ready to work harder this year for Taiwan's economy and the first step is to promote the Free Economic Pilot Zones in Taiwan.

"Internationally, Taiwan will fight to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year that will enhance our ability to compete against other countries in the international trade market," said Ma.

Ma said that joining the TPP would also allow Taiwan to have a more fair standing in the international trade market and benefit local exporting businesses.

"Taiwan's economy has improved a lot recently," said Ma. "The economic monitoring indicator flashed the "green" signal in December last year, signaling a stable economy for the first time in the past six months."

"It shows that the economic situation improved last year and the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.08 percent, which is the lowest point in the past few years," said Ma.

"Taipei City is ranked 145th for commodity prices in the world, which makes Taipei the city with the eighth lowest commodity prices in Asia among other cities including Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong," said Ma. "Relatively speaking, Taiwan is in a good position to better develop its economy this year."

Ma said that the enterprises and companies that did not give out a raise to their employees should do so in the Year of the Horse.

"The economy grew in the previous three quarters last year, so business owners are supposed to share profits with their employees, which will enforce the solidarity of the company and also stimulate consumption in Taiwan," said Ma.

Ma said that promoting the economy is one of the most important jobs that officials will work on this year, and everyone in Taiwan should also work with the government to reach that goal as well.

After praying for blessings, Ma started to pass out red envelops to people and he talked to Hau about MRT operations during New Year's Eve.

When Ma passed out red envelops to children, he asked them what year it is, and a child answered it is New Year, which made Ma laugh.

When reporters asked Ma whether or not King Pu-tsung, Taiwan's representative to the U.S., will take over the position of secretary-general of the National Security Council, Ma said only "thank you" in response.

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