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Premier confident in Taiwan, sets agenda for 2009

Premier confident in Taiwan, sets agenda for 2009

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Premier Liu Chao-shiuan voiced confidence in Taiwan's future Tuesday and pledged to effectively sharpen the country's competitive edge and use well-crafted policies to make it a front runner to embrace a global economic recovery.
Despite the many challenging tasks arising from a global economic downturn since he assumed office in May, Liu told a year-end news conference at the Executive Yuan that the key mission of the Cabinet currently is to foster Taiwan's strength and get the country ready for international competition when the global economy rebounds.
Liu expressed his hope that government policies focusing on the economy, energy, talent training and ecology conservation can be fully implemented in the near future.
Commenting on speculation over a Cabinet reshuffle, the premier said there is no timetable for possible changes in this regard, while promising to pay attention to Cabinet members who might make verbal bounders.
Liu also took the opportunity to recount the major measures adopted by the government with an aim to combat the financial woes over the past seven months, including the launching of a new labor insurance pension system and national pension program, relaxation of cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges, introduction of a spending voucher plan and a program to create temporary jobs, among others.
To prop up Taiwan's economy, Liu said, the government will focus its efforts on expanding infrastructure projects, encouraging consumer spending and boosting employment.
In addition, he said, the government will also designate a special trade and economic zone next year for returning Taiwanese businessmen who hope to channel their capital into Taiwan from abroad, particularly those based in China.
Liu said the plan to set up such a zone targeting returning Taiwan business people has come at a good time as direct daily charter flight services and direct shipping and postal links have been put in place between Taiwan and China since Dec. 15, implying that this will make it easier for the investors to do business both in China and in Taiwan. The government will officially unveil the plan to the public after it has been comprehensively hammered out by the end of this year, he added.
Export-dependent and manufacturing-focused Taiwan is suffering from the current global economic downturn, with the island's economy contracting 1.02 percent in the third quarter from a year ago -- its first decline since 2003. Gross domestic product is projected to shrink 1.73 percent in the fourth quarter and drop by 0.31 percent in the first quarter of 2009, compared to a growth rate of 5.7 percent in 2007.
Unemployment for November has meanwhile reached seasonally- adjusted 4.62 percent -- a nearly five-year high, while exports in November fell by an annual 23 percent -- the sharpest decline in seven years.
(By Flor Wang)




Updated : 2020-12-04 07:33 GMT+08:00