TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s top economic planning agency, the National Development Council (NDC), has set a goal for the country’s economic development on Dec. 22, with a target to reach economic growth of 2.4-2.6 percent in 2019.

The NDC appeared more upbeat than that of the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), an agency handling the country’s budget, accounting and statistics affairs. The DGBAS lowered its forecast of Taiwan’s GDP growth for 2019 by 0.14 percentage points to 2.41 percent at the end of November.

The NDC was also more optimistic than the central bank, which has downgraded its forecast to 2.33 percent from 2.48 percent, citing global uncertainty caused by the on-going trade tensions between the United States and China, the top two economies in the world.

The forecasts all pointed to an unfavorable scenario in which Taiwan’s pace of economic growth for 2019 will be slower than in 2018. The DGBAS has forecast Taiwan’s GDP will grow 2.66 percent this year due to a strong performance for exports in the first half of the year.

The NDC said while the local economy will face the possible impact resulting from slower growth in the global economy in the wake of the Washington-Beijing trade disputes, the government is ready to come up with measures to stabilize Taiwan’s economy and financial market.

The council said the government is determined to lead the local industries to continue making technological innovations, which is expected to energize the local economy and eventually boost the country’s competitiveness in the global market.

The council added it will continue to come up with incentives to encourage the private sector to spend and invest in a bid to lift domestic demand, a move which is expected to offset the impact from weakening global demand amid the U.S.-China trade disputes.

In addition, the NDC said it will also encourage Taiwanese investors operating overseas to relocate their investments to Taiwan to avoid the impact from the global trade issues, while it will keep making efforts to complete a legal mechanism on immigration and urban renewal projects.

The NDC added it will also keep working toward the government’s goal to transform Taiwan into a bilingual country by including English as an official language.

The Cabinet has approved a blueprint for this goal which it hopes to reach by 2030, with an initial focus on students under senior high school level receiving instruction on a variety of courses exclusively in English from eighth grade to 12th grade.

Cabinet deputy spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) said Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) has instructed the ministries of the Executive Yuan to work with local governments closely to create synergy through economic cooperation.

The NDC has also set a goal of maintaining Taiwan’s jobless rate at 3.6-3.7 percent and capping the growth of the local consumer price index at 2 percent for 2019.

In the first 11 months of this year, the CPI grew 1.48 percent from a year earlier. In the first 10 months of this year, the local jobless rate averaged 3.71 percent, down 0.06 percentage points from last year.

The DGBAS is scheduled to release the November unemployment data Saturday afternoon.

By Ku Chuan and Frances Huang