President Tsai outlines strategy to boost Taiwan's economic performance

The government will target three key areas for attention, amid general optimism for growth

Tsai at an event for business and industry representatives on March 1 at the Grand Hyatt, Taipei.

Tsai at an event for business and industry representatives on March 1 at the Grand Hyatt, Taipei. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On March 1, President Tsai Ing-wen spoke to a group of industry and business representatives at a gathering to mark the Lunar New Year, where she pledged to create a better environment to stimulate market growth and international trade in Taiwan this year.

To highlight her optimism about the development of Taiwan’s economy she noted that Taiwan’s exports in 2017 were the second highest in the country’s history, and that the unemployment has reached its lowest point in 17 years.

Reports today also note that while economic growth has cooled over the last quarter, manufacturing remains steady in Taiwan. Production numbers eased up in February after a particularly vibrant period in January.

Despite a minor dip, which is to be expected after the decent period of growth in 2017, numbers still indicate a healthy rate of growth for manufacturing and purchasing, according to Financial Times.

To encourage healthy growth, innovation and investment over the next year, Tsai outlined three areas that the government will target to boost the country’s economic performance, according to CNA.

The first is the continued emphasis on the government’s “Five plus Two” initiative; which aims to expand industries and projects related to the Internet of Things, bio-tech, green energy, smart technology and defense (“Five”), while also promoting agricultural efficiency and a circular economy (“plus Two”).

The second area the President addressed has been termed the “five shortages” or resources that need to be improved, increased or otherwise protected. The five areas where supplemental resources need to be mustered or conserved are; land, water, (electric/ gas) power, talent, and manpower.

Policies must be implemented that make the most of Taiwan’s resources without degrading the environment. Likewise, more incentives and benefits must be introduced to attract talent to Taiwan and strengthen the labor force, which will in turn attract greater investment generally, and specifically, in the targeted “Five plus Two” industries listed above.

The third area that will be targeted is Taiwan’s international trade relations. The government will continue to focus on the New South Bound Policy, and the strategies call for state-run enterprises to lead private companies into beneficial economic relations in markets throughout South East Asia.

Tsai also restated her goal of having Taiwan become a participant in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Even if Taiwan will not be an official signatory, the government will still seek to establish bilateral trade agreements with each of the signatory nations, reports CNA.