By John Liu , The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — According to 18 domestic and international forecast agencies, Taiwan is expected to have roughly 2.2-percent GDP growth in 2013, Central Bank Governor Perng Fai-nan (彭淮南) said yesterday. Taiwan’s major export partner China is conducting an economic structure overhaul. While China’s economic growth rate has declined to 7.5 percent from its usual 9 or 10 percent years ago, Asian countries’ exports have all been affected, hurting their economic growth, Perng said. As exports comprise more than 65 percent of Taiwan’s GDP, Taiwan’s economy has been affected, Perng added. Exports will affect investments; investments will affect employment, and employment will affect consumption. In order to boost growth momentum, Taiwan must improve its economic structure, consider cooperation options across the strait, and actively pursue economic integration with trade partners, Perng said. Questioned by Finance Committee Perng attended the Legislature yesterday and was questioned by the Finance Committee about his view on this year’s GDP growth. Perng said that he had collected numbers from 18 international and domestic forecast agencies, and 2.2-percent growth was about the average.

In regards to September’s 7-percent drop in exports, Perng attributed it to lowered panel demand from China and Formosa Plastic Group’s extended year-end recess. Perng said that export number may improve in October. Taiwan’s economy is still growing, but the growth momentum is not as strong, Perng said.

With lower-than-expected exports in September, food safety crisis hurting consumer confidence, the economic growth rate in the third quarter is expected to be adjusted downward. “Defending 2-percent GDP growth in 2013” has become one the government’s top priorities. CEPD Chief Confident About 2-percent GDP Growth The Cabinet’s Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) is charged with the responsibility of orchestrating the country’s economic development strategy. As such, CEPD Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) should be held responsible, should the government fail to achieve its 2-percent GDP growth target, said Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ming-wen (陳明文). In response, Kuan said a 2-percent GDP growth is not made through a “guarantee,” and that he is very confident in achieving the goal. Although exports dropped in September, economic recovery in developed countries such as the U.S. and eurozone will help with Taiwan’s economic growth, Kuan said.

The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS, 主計處) had adjusted its 2013 GDP growth forecast from 3.59 percent to 2.4 percent in May, before it adjusted downward again to 2.31 percent in August. DGBAS is due to release a new GDP forecast on Thursday. Whether the number will be re-adjusted again is likely to be the media’s focus by then. Legislators expressed concerns yesterday that the recent cooking oil scandal may hurt consumption as the public’s dining-out activity declines. In response, Kuan said the scandal is bound to impact Taiwan’s GDP. How soon the food safety issue is resolved will determine the extent of the impact, he added.