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Per capita GDP (PPP) trumps Japan, S. Korea

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Development Council Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said yesterday that Taiwan's GDP (PPP) per capita is higher than that of Japan and South Korea.

The minister made the comments at the Kuomintang's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting.

According to the World Economic Outlook Database, Taiwan's average GDP (PPP) per capita growth rate between 2008 and 2013 stood at 4.09 percent, whereas South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong registered 3.89 percent, 2.96 percent and 3.43 percent, respectively, in the same period.

According to Global Insight, Taiwan's average inflation rate between 2008 and 2013 stood at 1.29 percent, whereas South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong saw average inflation rates of 2.98 percent, 3.7 percent and 3.48 percent, respectively, in the same period.

Taiwan's economic growth slowed after 2000, with a relatively low rate of inflation and a relatively high rate of unemployment, Kuan said, adding, however, that the jobless rate has been gradually falling since 2009.

The minister pointed out that an overly low rate of inflation is a “double-edged sword” beneficial to purchasing power but disadvantageous to overall employment.

In terms of international ratings on competitiveness, such as those released by the World Economic Forum and the International Institute for Management Development, Taiwan's ranks quite high in the global arena, Kuan said.

Taiwan's predicament stems from the fact that its regulations are outdated and not in line with international practices, the fact that it has been marginalized in the global trade and commerce network, and the fact that its economic structure is too rigid, the minister said.

Taiwan should loosen its regulations, develop its Free Economic Pilot Zones, sign free trade agreements, join the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and strengthen its industries' connectivity with the world, Kuan said.

Taiwan has many advantages but also faces many challenges, Kuan said, adding that it is by identifying these challenges correctly and leveraging its advantages that Taiwan can stay in the lead.

An economic structure readjustment is long, hard road, but it is an inevitable process, the minister said.

Island's Commodity Prices Most Stable in Asia: Kuan

Earlier yesterday, Kuan said prior to an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan that Taiwan has the most stable commodity prices in Asia.

The minister explained that the recent spike was mainly due to an increase of prices in fruits and meats.

The government's responsibility is to monitor price stability and prevent monopolies from forming, the minister said, adding that the Council of Agriculture recently submitted information regarding pork price anomalies to the Fair Trade Commission for investigation.

Taiwan's consumer price index has remained the most stable in Asia, Kuan said, adding, however, that food prices do tend to fluctuate in accordance with seasonal supply and demand.

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