Taiwan mulls measures to bolster economy following virus fallout

Supportive measures to focus on driving domestic demand and buttressing travel industries

A lantern display during Lunar New Year.

A lantern display during Lunar New Year. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan government is discussing measures on Thursday (Feb. 13) to prop up the country’s economy and help cushion the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Aid to the five service industries, including dining, retail, MICE, commercial districts, night and traditional markets will be the focus of the meeting. In addition to loans, government support will also be pledged for digital transformation, environment enhancement, and nurturing talent for the affected businesses, said Cabinet Spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka.

While bolstering companies by granting new loans, the government will consider holding major sale events and doling out vouchers to boost consumption. Bailout plans and subsidies will also be implemented to help the travel industry weather the crisis — which is being hit hard by ticket and room cancellations, wrote CNA.

As for agriculture, efforts will be made to diversify the country’s overseas markets. Kolas added there would be an increase in networking opportunities, promoting agricultural products on e-commerce platforms, and optimizing recreational industries.

Details of the program will be hammered out at meetings of the Cabinet, which is slated to propose a special budget next week for this purpose, reported CNA.

World markets have underestimated the impact of the virus, which is expected to bring to a halt a third of the global supply chain if China fails to resume work by the end of February. This is according to Tao Dong (陶冬), managing director and the vice chairman greater China for Credit Suisse Private Banking Asia Pacific, wrote UDN.