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Eric Chu hits central government economic policies
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-28 04:55 PM
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu lashed out at the central government for its misguided "Two-trillion-dollar” Gemini project and for "very serious errors" in its industrial policies. Speaking at a New Taipei City function marking the end of the Year of the Snake, Chu looked back at the past year and faulted the central government for misusing resources by concentrating too much on high-tech and other industries while ignoring the needs of more traditional industries and services. He said the result is a sharp decline in employment opportunities and lost ground in economic competition with Korea and China.

Chu said even the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays show the effects of Taiwan’s "ossified government," pointing out that people need time off sometimes and that holidays are a necessary factor in stimulating the economy. He said if employers cannot pay workers more, the government should at least offer some kind of compensation by giving them a few more days off.

Chu criticized the Gemini project for Taipei Station as a proposal first raised during the DPP administration in 2002. He also pointed out that in contrast, New Taipei City has concentrated on developing traditional industries and now boasts the largest number of traditional industries of any area on the island, adding considerably to national economic productivity. Chu said the central government should put more resources into personnel training, technology upgrading and cross-industry alliances that will stimulate production and innovation and lead to more value-added services. This, he said, will help power Taiwan’s economic engine in the nation’s move toward the international market.

Even as President Ma Ying-jeou appealed to businesses in Taiwan to raise the salaries of their employees, Chu appeared with members of the New Taipei City Government’s Bureau of Economic Development to encourage production and innovation. Chu noted that ten years ago the central government decided to shift its focus on development from traditional industries to the high-tech sector. He said since then the economy has been slowed by bottlenecks and serious miscues such as the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ proposals for projects like the Gemini buildings at Taipei Main Station.

Chu noted that too many resources are being concentrated in big investments and high tech companies, He said estimates show that traditional mass production industries can provide one employment opportunity with about NT$$1.5 million in investment, while high-tech industries must spend about a hundred times that amount or around NT$150 million to create a single job. He said funneling funds into projects like the Gemini development have contributed to the sharp decline seen in employment opportunities.

Chu said concentrating too many resources and loans in a few high-tech companies means that "we can only bet to win, we cannot afford to lose,” Betting everything on a limited number of projects, he noted, means “if we win we are dragons, but if we lose we are worms”, and the "Two-trillion-dollar" Gemini development has been a disaster that only benefits Taiwan’s rival economies South Korea and China.

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