Taiwan's exports are expected to top US$160 billion for this year, marking the highest figure ever, Minister of Economic Affairs Ho Mei-yueh (
Addressing the opening of the Fifth National Industrial Development Conference, Ho said that 2004 has been a brilliant year for Taiwan's economy, with both industrial production and export trade expanding remarkably.
The nation's economy posted growth of 7.2 percent for the first half of this year, which Ho said represents the best performance since 1997. During the period, industrial production registered 15 percent growth, while investment from the private sector surged a whopping 28.3 percent.
It is estimated that investment from the private sector will top NT$1.4 trillion (US$41.9 billion) for the whole of the year, she added.
However, Taiwan's economy still faces challenges posed by political and economic variables at home and abroad, the minister said.
In addition, the nation's manufacturing industries and service industries -- the two major pillars of its economy -- need to be upgraded structurally to increase Taiwan's international competitiveness, she said.
To catch up with the industrially advanced countries, Taiwan must seek breakthroughs on several fronts, including innovation, the nurturing of talent, tax incentives and technology.
Policies developed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs to address this include increasing government investment in and providing government incentives for the development of the semiconductor, telecommunications, nanotechnology and biotechnology industries, and knowledge-based services, she said.