Gov’t has begun to devise plans to stimulate economy: premier

By Ann Yu ,The China Post

Premier Sean Chen addressed the nation’s economic situation yesterday, stating that the government has begun to devise economic stimulus plans, including the development of emerging markets. Moreover, the Executive Yuan has decided to host three more symposiums with leaders of business and industry to discuss revitalizing the economy, as the previous five meetings were met with wide praise.

As Taiwan’s gross domestic product posted a deficit of 0.18 percent in August, and the consumer price index recorded a record-breaking increase of 3.42 percent, government officials have been desperately implementing economic recovery measures to generate revenue.

In addition to factors such as the eurozone debt crisis and the global economic slump, Western markets have decreased their imports, which has in turn greatly affected many Southeast Asian countries’ exports. Taiwan has been especially affected, as the nation leans on foreign trade as its primary economic engine. According to the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), the annual growth rate for exports in China dropped to 1 percent in July, a drastic fall compared to 11.3 percent in June.

The CEPD also noted that since Taiwan’s economy is excessively dependant on exports, the government has initiated a draft mechanism for a reformation on the structure of the economy in an effort to enhance the nation’s competitive edge.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has also targeted emerging markets in an effort to boost exports. The premier stated that this was the most prudent move, as sales and exports have increased for emerging markets recently, and hopefully it will give a necessary boost to Taiwan’s GDP.

The premier has commissioned each administrative branch to stay on top of news coming out of the eurozone. With the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting this week to discuss purchasing debt from countries with high borrowing costs, any decision made by the bank will impact the current European debt crisis, which in turn would unquestionably influence Taiwan.

According to the CEPD, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast the global trade volume of merchandise and services to increase by 3.8 percent in 2012, and 5.1 percent in 2013. The CEPD hopes these increases can help to lift Taiwan out of its economic slump and revitalize exports. The CEPD is optimistic for 2013, estimating a growth rate of 3.67 percent for the coming year.

Opposition Parties Still Dissatisfied Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members were dissatisfied with the government’s responsive measures to the slow economy and demanded that the Cabinet be replaced. Party member Pan Men-an (潘孟安) complained about the unemployment rate and shrinking salaries. “The government’s poor performance is the reason for the people’s misery,” Pan said, citing the numbers of the misery index. “The nation is in a very damaged situation, but members of the government still think they’re doing well,” he added.

Chief Secretary of Kuomintang (KMT) Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) shot back at the DPP members, claiming that the government could have plunged into economic issues earlier if it were not for the “ DPP’s distractions” concerning the beef bill. Wu stated that the premier was doing his best, while the DPP gave no help at all, choosing instead to bicker with other members of government. “They should rethink their attitudes,” he said.