KMT asks President Chen to keep promises

The China Post staff and CNA

The opposition Kuomintang yesterday asked President Chen Shui-bian to keep his promise by seeing that all government officials fully execute any decisions reached at next month’s economic advisory conference. Chou Shou-hsun, spokesman of the largest opposition party, said his party welcomed the statement made by Chen during a preparatory committee meeting in Taipei yesterday. At that meeting, Chen vowed to see that no government officials, including Premier Chang Chun-hsiung, can veto any conclusions or consensus reached in the upcoming conference held to save Taiwan’s rapidly receding economy. Chou said the KMT is gratified at Chen’s statement, but it is more important Chen can indeed live up to his words and take action. He was referring to the Chen government’s failure to keep its promise of loosening the “no hase, be patient” investment policy toward mainland China. Chen had said in his inaugural speech he would continue to carry out tasks left by the former KMT government. The former government had planned to largely loosen the restrictive mainland investment policy before it handed its power to Chen. Lee Cheng-chung, secretary-general of the KMT legislative caucus, said the KMT will fully support legislative procedures in line with the implementation of conclusions finalized at the conference, as long as the conclusions are beneficial to the development of the island’s economy and people’s livelihood.

Frank Hsieh, head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, said he fully supports Chen’s pledge to see conclusions reached at the conference put into practice. “What we need now is consensus,” he said. The formal meeting of the Economic Development Advisory Conference is scheduled to be held August 24-26. Meanwhile, the panel in charge of evaluating domestic investment environment issues remained undecided yesterday on what topics will be addressed in addition to those already on a predetermined list.

In response to concerns raised by panel members that the listed issues are not the only investment related problems facing the nation today, Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi, a panel co-convener who chaired the discussion meeting, said that he will be accepting suggestions on additional issues before Thursday.

Another meeting will be convened Saturday, he added.

Existing topics to be addressed by the panel include how to best utilize land for production and stabilize the supply of water and electricity, and how to improve government efficiency while thoroughly eliminating obstacles to enticing business investments at both central and local government levels.

Other issues include how to attract domestic, foreign and mainland Chinese investment by providing a reward system for globally competitive businesses, how to speed up the completion of world-class infrastructure development by expanding the budget for public construction, and how to remove non economic factors that obstruct economic development.

Another conference panel assigned to address growing domestic unemployment issues agreed to conduct regional seminars in northern, central and southern Taiwan and discuss possible amendments to labor regulations, changes to foreign labor policies, ways to promote employment opportunities and responses to possible jobless issues after Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

Another panel on the issues related to industrial competitiveness also decided at Sunday’s preparatory meeting that it will organize a public seminar on the agricultural industry in southern Taiwan, a seminar on traditional industries in central Taiwan and another seminar on the biotech industry in Taipei prior to meeting again to discuss their assigned topics.

The panel in charge of financial and banking affairs decided Sunday to hold its second session Friday to further discuss its recommendations for the government. This panel’s tentative agenda covers 11 topics in two major categories — government finance reform and banking reform.