Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Former CEPD chiefs call for increased role in Strait

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A number of former chiefs of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) yesterday urged the council to play a more active role in planning cross-strait commercial ties as well as reversing an economic recession.

“The council should take more responsibility and be more active in formulating cross-strait industrial policy to benefit the nation,” CEPD Deputy Minister Hu Chung-ying (胡仲英) yesterday quoted Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman and former CEPD head Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) as saying.

Chiang, who proposed a reunion of former CEPD ministers and deputy ministers to mark the council’s 60th anniversary, said the government should set up a cross-ministerial strategic task force jointly hosted by the CEPD and the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) to handle cross-strait trade.

Hu said China was interested in developing its own liquid-crystal-display (LCD) industry and has expressed the hope that Taiwan could help with the necessary experience.

“Engineering designers in this field are limited,” Hu said. “Taiwan is tied with South Korea in this industry on the world stage.”

Hu quoted Chiang as saying the CEPD was better equipped than the MAC to map out an industrial strategy favorable to Taiwan.

The council is responsible for drafting economic policies, coordinating their implementation and evaluating their effect. The consumer voucher plan under which Taiwanese and foreign spouses may obtain vouchers worth NT$3,600 (US$108) each in January is the agency’s latest brainchild.

Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), also a former CEPD minister, urged the council to act quickly to help the nation emerge from the economic downturn unscathed.

Siew pointed out that the nation’s heavy dependence on exports made it vulnerable to the ongoing financial storm as well as deteriorating trade terms.

To stay competitive, Taiwanese information technology manufactures have sold their products at low prices with a narrow profit margin, Siew said.

Wang Chou-ming (王昭明), a former CEPD deputy minister, said in a statement that the council should strengthen its role as a policy planner and coordinator and fix more of its attention on long-term public infrastructure construction projects in an attempt to expand domestic demand and boost the economy.

Wang said that stimulating consumer spending could achieve only limited, short-term results.

Former CEPD deputy minister Yeh Wang-an (葉萬安) said in a statement that the council should take the initiative to help the nation’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) upgrade their research and development capabilities, personnel training and management skills.

The SMEs are the backbone of the nation’s economic progress and the government should take care of them, Yeh said.

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