Tue, Mar 05, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Economics official says growth rate may pass 3 percent


Taiwan's economy may finally be bottoming out and may reach an annual growth rate of between 3 percent and 3.5 percent for 2004, Minister of Economic Affairs Christine Tsung (宗才怡) forecast yesterday.

With the gradual recovery of the economy in the US -- Taiwan's major export outlet, as well as the improving employment situation at home, and a forecast of 2.5-percent growth in Taiwan's economy for 2002 by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Tsung said growth of between 3 percent and 3.5 percent for 2004 is technically feasible.

Answering a question raised by opposition KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) at a joint meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Economic Committee and Energy Committee, Tsung said that although the domestic economy is still sluggish, various economic indices have shown recovery has begun.

When asked by Legislator Chiu Chuei-chen (邱垂貞) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party what the biggest challenge to Taiwan's economic development is now and how to overcome it, Tsung said the biggest challenge is a weakening investment climate. She suggested lowering tariff rates, foreign exchange rates and interest rates.

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