Experts optimistic about Taiwan's economy this year
Central News Agency
2013-02-18 11:34 PM
Taipei, Feb. 18 (CNA) Several scholars and experts attending a seminar on Monday were optimistic about the economic growth of Taiwan this year. The seminar was sponsored by the think tank Taiwan Competitiveness Forum to coincide with the inauguration of the new Cabinet headed by Jiang Yi-huah earlier Monday. Hsieh Ming-hui, executive director of the forum, estimated that economic growth could reach between 4 and 6 percent this year. Hsieh noted that Taiwan's economic growth in the fourth quarter last year rebounded to 3.42 percent, and this year a moderate economic growth rate will continue. He also pointed out the major challenges for the Jiang Cabinet: pension reform, upgrading economic growth, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, the commercial operations of the fourth nuclear power plant, and setting up a free economic demonstration zone. He also predicted that the approval rating for President Ma Ying-jeou, which fell to as low as 13 percent last year, would bottom out this year. Meanwhile, China's economic growth this year will reach 9 percent, which would ensure cross-strait trade development will be favorable to Taiwan, Hsieh said. Other experts were less optimistic. Lin Chien-shan, head of the World Economics Society, said that although Taiwan's economy will grow this year, growth will be moderate. He noted that Taiwan relies on foreign trade, but due to the European debt crisis, most countries have practiced austerity measures, weakening public consumption power, which will impact Taiwan's economic development. Lin predicted that Taiwan's economic growth will not exceed 2 percent, and the jobless rate will be 4.5 percent at most. He also said Perng Fai-nan, 72, and governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of China Governor, has been in his post for 15 years and should be replaced. Perng has served for too long and is overly protective of the domestic market, which has made Taiwan's economy lose its vitality and momentum, Lin said. Professor Nieh Chien-chung of Tamkang University believed that a 3.8 percent growth rate could be achieved. But he also said that Jiang's new Cabinet should have more tangible measures in dealing with pension reform, welfare for the elders, setting up the free economic demonstration zone, the opening of Chinese yuan operations and the transformation of domestic industries. (By Tseng Ying-yu and Lilian Wu)
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