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Jiang gives 1st policy report at Central Standing Committee

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday delivered the Ma Ying-jeou administration's policy report at the Kuomintang's (KMT) weekly meeting for the first time after he took the office in 2013.

Speaking at the KMT's Central Standing Committee meeting, Jiang said over the past six years, the executive branch has completed 63.7 percent of President Ma's white paper on policies, noting that 34.3 percent of Ma's promises to the people are on-going projects.

Jiang went on to say that the government has been working on reducing the existing government ministries from 37 to 29 ministries and agencies, noting that New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City upgraded to municipalities in December 2010 as scheduled.

Premier on Economy

Promoting the country's economic development has always been the Ma administration's major policy, the premier said, adding that the executive branch has signed eight trade agreements with countries such as mainland China, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore between 2010 and 2013.

Jiang said the Executive Yuan in August 2013 started to carry out the first phase of preparation for setting up Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) across the country. He said currently 20 manufacturers have entered and are stationed in the zones, noting that the manufacturers have so far invested NT$1.67 billion in the FEPZs.

The premier further noted that in 2013 the amount of imports and exports in the FEPZs has increased 38.71 percent compared with the same period of time in 2012, adding that the volume of trade in 2013 also rose 33.27 percent compared with 2012.

Jiang said phase two of the FEPZ program preparation requires amendments to some existing laws, hence the Cabinet has proposed a special draft bill on the FEPZs to the Legislature for deliberation, hoping to relax current regulations.

Jiang said since that 2011 the government has raised minimum wage every year, adding that the monthly minimum wage has risen from NT$17,280 to NT$19.047. From this July, the monthly minimum wage will also increase to NT$19,273, Jiang added.

The premier said, on the other hand, that the unemployment rate has decreased from 6.13 percent in 2009 to 4.03 percent in March, noting that the number of unemployed currently sits at 463,000 people, which is the lowest number compared with the same month in the past six years.

The Legislative Yuan yesterday held deliberations for the FEPZ draft bill, however the deliberation failed to be convened successfully due to the fact that ruling party and opposition lawmakers could not reach a consensus on the issue of legislative procedure.

KMT lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) later held a press conference, criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus. Huang said the DPP does not want to deliberate the bill, and simply want to boycott it.

Huang said the Legislative Yuan could not convene the Yuan Sitting and could not hold a committee meeting because of the DPP caucus, saying it is a shame that the lawmakers still get paid from the people's tax money.

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