Industry group presses for transformational change

By John Liu, The China Post

The Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) publicized its 2014 White Paper yesterday, while CNFI Chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) pointed out Taiwan needs transformational change badly in order to compete on the global stage. The change is all the more necessary given the harsh environment that Taiwan is in. Taiwan’s economy is lacking growth momentum, earnings growth is slow and all the while the nation is facing more challenges as other nations pursue regional economic integration, Hsu said, adding that after the free trade agreement (FTA) between China and South Korea takes effect, it is likely to impact local industry by as much as US$36.8 billion. CNFI has publicized white papers for seven years. This year, up to 223 recommendations are given. The white paper is divided into 10 sections: industry, energy, environmental health, fair transaction and consumer relations, taxation and finance, employer and employee relation, international trade, cross-strait strategy, intellectual property, and small and medium enterprise development. Taiwan’s Myriad Problems Taiwan’s economy has been bogged down in a quagmire for the past three years, while the economic growth rate hovered between 2 and 3 percent. President Ma Ying-jeou’s campaign promises are far from being realized, the white paper says. With high unemployment and sluggish earnings growth, young people have little to expect in their future. All the while, political bickering between the nation’s two largest political parties has slowed down Taiwan’s development and erodes its competitiveness. Nevertheless, a silver lining appeared in this year’s world economy. While businesses ready themselves for this opportunity, student-led protests and anti-nuclear campaigns took the government by surprise and broke down its operation.

The CNFI pointed out that nowadays civil groups are protesting against almost every government policy, including the cross-strait service trade pact and Free Economic Pilot Zones that are essential to the island’s development. How Taiwan will navigate its path down the road is a concern, said the CNFI. Taiwan Needs Innovation

and Value Creation While nations around the globe invest much resources and development efforts to level up, Taiwan must find its own way, through technical innovation or finding an alternative edge, Hsu suggested. The government’s industrial development strategy should shift from cost reduction and efficiency improvement, to encouraging innovation that fosters value creation, Hsu said.

This approach is in fact in line with strategies adopted by developed nations including the U.S., Germany, Japan and Italy, which focus on added-value creation, according to the CNFI. Cultivating advanced technical know-how and promoting innovation vitality should be Taiwan’s national development strategy, the white paper says.