Ma vows ‘impressive economic comeback’

By Eric Huang, The China Post

The China Post–President Ma Ying-jeou vowed yesterday to devote his second term in office to “charting a course of an impressive economic comeback.” “Taiwan needs to stride a path to become a free economic demonstrative area, that’s the precondition to be qualified for TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership),” he said. “I will pursue that course within the first two years of my second term before the nation is consumed in the upcoming elections.” Ma made the comments on the first day of 3rd annual CommonWealth Economic Forum (天下經濟論壇) which aimed to discuss the prospect of Asia’s economic transformation and growth amid uphill struggles for the global economic recovery. The forum was lit up by a trove of international political and economic heavyweights, among them, President Ma Ying-jeou, the chairman of New Zealand’s Productivity Commission, Murray Sherwin, the president of Korean Development Institute, Hyun Oh-seok and the executive dean of National School of Development of Peking University, Wu Homou. President Ma’s master plan to revive Taiwan’s economy centers on a platform that would increase personal income for all, provide more employment opportunities and zero-in on innovation with the pursuit of regional integration and the prospect of joining the framework of TPP in 10 years. He believes it is the only way for Taiwan to not be isolated.

The president patiently laid out to the audience the tenets of what his government called “Go Fiscal” policy designed to help Taiwan weather the European financial crisis.

“The Chinese character ‘crisis’ is made up of two components signifying danger and opportunity,” he remarked, adding that his government is there to foster a fair and vigorous state of affairs for business to compete and prosper.

Referring to an earlier meeting with a Taiwanese entrepreneur investing in mainland China, Ma also said he intends to follow what he was advised to do during that reunion, which is to leave the free market alone and pursue a policy of minimum government intervention.

Sherwin discerned the prudence in Ma’s policy. He told The China Post that “it is hard to predict the next big trend of the market, although Asian economy has been state led in the past, only innovative entrepreneurs and genius minds can make it happen. It is hard to predetermine.” “What the government can do,” he continued, “is to create the framework that accommodates set economic conditions,” while sharing optimistic views on world’s economic recovery. Echoing the president, the New Zealand expert agreed that Taiwan has rich assets of human capital and historical/ancestral linkages that elevate its economic cooperation vis-a-vis China, Japan, Singapore and the U.S.

President Ma also noted that his open-door trade policy with the world’s fastest-growing Chinese economy has spurred the willingness of partner states within the region to engage in free trade with Taiwan, citing Singapore and Japan as examples.