Thu, Aug 17, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Integrating services and ICT vital for the economy

LONG NEGLECTED Between 1996 and last year, the trade in services posted an average annual growth rate of only 4.2 percent while mechandise was 5.8 percent


Integrating the services industry with the information and communication technology (ICT) industry will be a major policy of the government to boost the development of services sector the Council for Economic Planning and Develop-ment said yesterday.

Council officials noted that trade in services has become an important part of the international division of labor since the 1990s, with WTO statistics showing that global trade in services registered an average growth rate of 7.6 percent between 1981 and last year, which was higher than the 6.8 percent for merchandise trade.

Last year, the global trade in services contributed 22 percent to the growth of world trade, which indicates that trade in services is playing an increasingly important role in world trade, the officials said.

Taiwan's trade in services accounted for 1.2 percent of the world's total last year, while Taiwan's merchandise trade accounted for 1.8 percent of the world's total, they said.

Between 1996 and last year, Taiwan's trade in services posted an average growth rate of only 4.2 percent, which was lower than the 5.8 percent recorded by merchandise trade, they said.

The officials added that as the services industry contributed 73.56 percent to Taiwan's GDP last year and is a major engine for the country's economic growth, the government will try to expand trade in services by combining the services industry with the ICT sector in an effort to make further inroads into global markets.

In light of the potential of the software industry, the green industry, the sport and leisure industry, the tourism industry and the culture and creativity industry, Taiwan should work out a strategy to integrate their development, the officials said.

In addition, the government should establish a high-quality and friendly travel environment to attract more foreign tourists to Taiwan to increase the country's income from this presently underexploited sector, they added.

Separately, the production value of Taiwan's high-tech industry amounted to NT$5.78 trillion (US$176 billion) last year, up 30 on 2000 and accounting for 54 percent of the total output of the manufacturing sector, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

However, the amount represents an increase of only 2.8 percent over 2004, owing to the exodus of Taiwanese businesses to China, the DGBAS said.

While the electronic parts and components industry contributed 37.4 percent to the total production value of the high-tech industry last year, the semiconductor industry contributed 16.9 percent, marking the first time the ratio of the semiconductor sector has declined since 2001, according to the DGBAS.

Meanwhile, the contribution of computer, communications and video and audio electronic products dropped to 15.3 percent, the tallies showed.

Last year, Taiwan exported US$45.7 billion worth of electronic products, up more than 40 percent over 2000, the DGBAS said.

The export value of information and communications products fell to US$10.5 billion last year, down 46 percent from 2000, it added.

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