Wed, Apr 14, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Ho Mei-yueh touted for MOEA post

CABINET RESHUFFLE The vice chairwoman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development is considered a top candidate to replace incumbent Lin Yi-fu

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Whoever is named to be minister of economic affairs in the next Cabinet reshuffle faces a number of challenges, including the realization of the 10 Major Infrastructure Projects and strengthening cross-strait business ties, pundits said yesterday.

Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫) is expected to step down from that post and Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Vice Chairman of Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥) may be his replacement, the Liberty Times reported yesterday, without citing the source.

Since Vice Premier Lin Hsin-i (林信義), who doubled as the CEPD's chairman, also tendered his resignation yesterday, some observers said the chance for Ho to be named chairwoman in the upcoming reshuffle could not be ruled out.

Wherever she goes, Ho seems to be very popular within the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government -- an administration which has been criticized for its lack of talent in the areas of economics and trade.

"It is difficult to coordinate various government departments, but I think Ho has done a good job [as council vice chairman]," Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), a director at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台經院), said yesterday.

"Ho is a good candidate [for the economics ministry]," Kung said.

As for the strengthening of the cross-strait business ties, Kung said that is a policy area set by the Cabinet.

Ho, 53, entered the ministry in 1975 when she joined the Industrial Development Bureau as a technician. She was promoted to deputy director general of the bureau in 1994. She served as a counselor to the Cabinet in 1997 and then became CEPD vice-chairperson in 2000.

During her tenure, Ho proposed and pushed forward several major policies, including a NT$20 billion program for creating public-service jobs to help ease unemployment.

Another major accomplishment was the planning of free-trade ports. Keelung Harbor and Kaohsiung Port have both obtained free-trade port status. Keelung will start free-trade operations in September, while Kaohsiung will begin next year.

Last December Ho proposed a NT$500 billion stimulus package to boost economic growth to 5 percent this year.

Another industry representative said he gave Ho high marks for her expertise and efforts to promote economic policies.

"Ho has a deep understanding of industry from her work in the Industrial Development Bureau for more than 20 years," said Tony Hsu (徐義雄), vice chairman of National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises.

Other possible candidates for the ministerial position include China Steel Corp (中鋼) chairman Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵), Taiwan Power Co (台電) chairman Lin Neng-pai (林能白) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council chairman Hsu Chih-jen (許志仁).

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