ROCCOC chairman aims for local housing prices to be set by market

By Betty Wu, Special to The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Lai Cheng-yi (賴正鎰), chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the R.O.C. (ROCCOC, 商總), yesterday urged the government to allow Taiwan’s housing prices to be determined by the mechanisms of the free market and cease suppressive policies designed to curb rampantly rising prices, at a conference event yesterday in Taipei.

The event yesterday was attended by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) and a number of heads of governing bodies to facilitate the deliberation of economic policies face to face.

According to Lai, Taiwan’s economy is driven by the twin engines of the equities and real estate market, and suppressive government policies will hamper growth momentum.

Lai noted the spirited pace of economic recovery over the first half of this year, producing considerable improvements in unemployment, business turnover and industrial production metrics, and said that Taiwan’s GDP growth will reach between 3 percent or even 3.5 percent, propelled by booming demand in domestic consumption and exports.

Lai stated that the housing and stock markets are the two engines promoting Taiwan’s economy. The Taiwan stock exchange has a daily trading volume of about 150 billion, with the TAIEX poised to breach the 10,000-points benchmark. However, due to the government’s continued efforts in curbing home prices, the real estate markets have recently slumped under the impact of interference to market mechanisms.

Throughout the conference, the ROCCOC presented 59 suggestions on free trade, immigration policy, tax reform, regulatory adjustments, human resources training and energy and environmental protection compiled by 124 commercial and service associations Most notably, the chamber’s tax reform proposals focused on sunset clause amendments for the financial services sector, while presenting suggested amendments on laws governing the funeral and burial industries as well as the employment rights of aborigines. The chamber also drew up technical certification programs for laundering and landscaping professionals.

Amid growing concern over energy and environmental issues, the chamber provided comprehensive energy consumption and supply figure and outlined its proposal for Taiwan to decrease its reliance on fossil fuel imports. In addition, the chamber also urged the government to assist in creating a distinguished flagship lighting company under the “made in Taiwan” banner.