NDC expects Taiwan’s economy to gain momentum in 2018

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Taiwan’s economy is expected to gain further momentum in 2018 owing to forward-looking policymaking and improving conditions at home and abroad, accor

Taiwan’s economy is expected to gain further momentum in 2018 owing to forward-looking policymaking and improving conditions at home and abroad, accor

Taiwan’s economy will continue to gather steam this year on the back of forward-looking policymaking in areas spanning infrastructure investment and regulatory easing as well as improving market conditions at home and abroad, according to the Cabinet-level National Development Council Feb. 20.

Citing forecasts by local and foreign think tanks including Taipei City-based Academia Sinica and Philippines-headquartered Asian Development Bank, the NDC said Taiwan’s gross domestic product is poised to increase by between 2 percent and 3 percent for 2018. Local exporters are also set to benefit from a recovering world economy, with global trade expected to outperform economic growth for the second consecutive year, the council added.

This positive trend is reflected in Taiwan’s record-breaking trade numbers for January. Exports reached US$27.38 billion, up 15.3 percent year on year to the highest-ever amount for the month.

Owing to factors including the positive trade outlook as well as growing investment by local semiconductor firms, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics recently revised the country’s GDP growth projection for 2018 upward to 2.42 percent.

According to the NDC, the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program, alongside policies to foster government efficiency and regulatory easing, is expected to further enhance the local business environment.

Running from September 2017 to August 2021, the NT$420 billion (US$14.4 billion) FIDP aims to meet Taiwan’s development needs for the next 30 years. It comprises eight categories: aquatic environments to build resilience against climate change, child care facilities to address declining birthrates, digitalization to create a connected nation, food safety to protect consumers’ health, green energy to ensure environmental sustainability, human resources to boost employment, railway development to provide convenient and safe transportation and urban-rural projects to balance regional development.

To promote private sector investment, the government plans to enact more flexible economic and financial regulations and strengthen communication with industry, the NDC said, adding that recent measures in this regard include the establishment of a dedicated service window to help innovative startups better understand related rules.

The NDC said another key facet of these efforts involves streamlining regulatory processes in such areas as environmental impact assessments and investment approval, with one-stop service centers set to be launched by local governments nationwide.

Premier Lai Ching-te convened eight Cabinet meetings between September 2017 and January this year to review implementation of public infrastructure projects and investment by state-run enterprises, as well as measures to address related issues spanning human resources, land use and utilities, the NDC said. (SFC-E)