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Commercial Times: A view of Taiwan's competitiveness
Central News Agency
2014-01-17 11:21 AM
In recent years, Taiwan's economic growth has been falling farther and farther behind main competitor South Korea, mostly because Taiwanese export competitiveness has continued to decline. Although Taiwan saw its second best exports performance ever last year at US$303.22 billion, the figure cannot compete with South Korea's US$559.72 billion, a record for that country. In December alone, Taiwan's exports were down 1.9 percent annually to US$25.59 billion. South Korea, however, saw its exports rising 7.1 percent to US$48.05 billion, with exports to China and the United States up 8.4 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively. South Korea predicted that its export growth will reach 6.4 percent this year, significantly higher than Taiwan's expected 3.07 percent. In her New Year's Day address, South Korean President Park Geun-hye unveiled a three-year economic development plan, with the goal of raising the country's economic growth to 4 percent and national income per capita to above US$30,000. By comparison, President Ma Ying-jeou did not set any specific target or even a broad vision, though he stressed the government was gearing up for "the year of Taiwan's economic breakthrough." It is clear that while South Korea is continuing on the track of growth, Taiwan is still struggling to remove various obstacles to economic development. The implementation of Ma's policies, such as the free economic pilot zone project and the Taiwan-China service trade agreement, hinges on consensus and cooperation from the Legislature. If the ruling party cannot build an internal consensus and overcome external barriers, the policies will be nothing more than idle talk. There is a sharp contrast between the stunning transformation and performance of South Korea over the 15 years since the Asian financial crisis and what has happened in Taiwan. If political infighting is allowed to continue locally and the government keeps going back and forth on its policies, the country will only continue on its downward slide. (Editorial abstract -- Jan. 17, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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