‘Golden Cross’ likely to appear this year: CEPD minister

By Linger Liu, The China Post

Taiwan’s GDP is likely to grow by 4 percent this year and unemployment decline to below 4 percent, Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) said yesterday at the Legislative Yuan.

Kuan said he remains very optimistic regarding economic growth for this year. The nation’s economy will not be influenced by the decommissioning of nuclear power plant Nos. 1, 2 and 3 before 2015, he said.

The appearance was Kuan’s first question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan since he took over at the CEPD. Kuan said he was nervous during his appearance, but that the lawmakers were not overly harsh. During the session, the minister said that his goal is to achieve a “Golden Cross,” the meeting point at which GDP growth sits above 4 percent and the unemployment rate drops to below 4 percent. It is very likely this will be achieved this year, he said.

According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) the economy is forecast to grow by 3.59 percent this year. the DGBAS has upgraded this outlook three times in the past few months according to its report. Economic Growth Balance

DPP Legislator Lin Tai-hua (林岱樺) asked Kuan if the central government only channels its economic development efforts into Northern Taiwan, and allocates less resources and growth incentives to the south.

Lin said that based on salary and job opportunity indicators, Southern Taiwan has relatively fewer advantages than the north.

Kuan responded that urban development tends to be concentrated in Northern Taiwan for historical reasons. In particular, the fact that the political center of Taiwan is located in Taipei means it is reasonable for Northern Taiwan to attract more enterprises and see more investment opportunities, Kuan said. Enterprises and Yuan Service

The minister said that the main growth drivers will be the government’s project to lure back Taiwan enterprises to invest in the nation, as well as yuan-based financial services.

The Executive Yuan approved and implemented the “Project for the Strengthened Promotion of Investment by Returning Taiwanese Enterprises”on Nov. 1, 2012 and the project will be upgraded to NT$150 billion from NT$100 billion according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The MOEA said it intends to boost domestic investment from NT$1.1 trillion to NT$1.2 trillion. According to the Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan), savings of Chinese yuan in 46 Taiwan banks totaled NT$50 billion (10 billion yuan) at the beginning of March.

The yuan deposit service started on Feb. 6 under an agreement signed with the People’s Bank of China. Local banks offered high interest rates to attract investors at the beginning, with an average of around 2-3 percent, but recently most banks have dropped their rates to around 2 percent, according to the central bank.