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Commercial Times: Taiwan's economic crisis and opportunity
Central News Agency
2014-05-30 10:36 AM
Last week, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics raised its forecast for Taiwan's economic growth for 2014 to 2.98 percent. Economic monitoring indicators released by the National Development Council, meanwhile, continued to show improvement for the 20th consecutive month. The government said these are signs that Taiwan's economy is making a full recovery. Based on long-term economic data, however, the economic outlook may not be so rosy. During the first four months of this year, Taiwan's merchandise exports were only 53 percent of South Korea's, down from 66 percent in 2007 and 90 percent in 2000. In terms of service exports, Taiwan was ranked 26th worldwide in 2013, declining from 18th in 2000. Although the jobless rate dropped to 3.91 percent in April, this was likely linked to seasonal factors. As many as 830,000 people in Taiwan remain affected by unemployment. In the first quarter of this year, local workers earned NT$57,000 per month on average after taking into account year-end bonuses, only slightly higher than the NT$55,000 recorded before the 2008 global financial crisis. Such a small increase can hardly keep apace with the rise in consumer prices. It is crucial for Taiwan's economy to make structural changes in order to escape from its current stagnation. Over the past 10 years, the government has put forth many plans aimed at changing the economy's structure, but few were seriously implemented. A lack of determination and execution on the part of the government is largely responsible for the country's economic crisis. Unless the government improves its execution, it cannot possibly reverse the pattern of negative economic cycles. (Editorial abstract -- May 30, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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