Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Industry leaders ask government to work on important economic issues

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Industry leaders yesterday urged the government to focus on key economic issues after Saturday’s nine-in-one elections, while proposing that the government hold cross-party and inter-industry meetings to boost growth momentum.

Their suggestions came as the government’s efforts to push through drafts linked to the nation’s economy and trade were thwarted mainly due to political conflicts. Those efforts include enacting an oversight act for agreements between Taiwan and China, and ratifying a draft of the cross-strait service trade pact.

To accelerate the nation’s annual GDP growth to 3.5 percent, or even 4 percent, next year, those drafts need to be ratified by the end of next year, the General Chamber of Commerce (商業總會) said in a statement. The chamber has 124 members.

“With the elections over, the government should now concentrate on economic issues,” chamber chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰) said in the statement.

Lai said the outcome of Saturday’s elections highlighted public discontent with the nation’s lukewarm economy, stagnated wages and a rise in consumer prices.

However, Lai said the nation needs to be more internationalized and open up its markets to the world in order to help local businesses seize more opportunities. The government should also speed up its efforts to seek more free-trade agreements with trade partners, he said.

To reach a consensus on those key economic issues, Lai urged the government to hold national meetings to set economic stimulus guidelines with political leaders and industry representatives.

Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) also proposed the convening of cross-party and cross-industry conferences to produce ideas and economic stimulus measures to drive the economy.

CNFI is the nation’s biggest industry association, representing 155 manufacturers.

Apart from enacting economy-related drafts, the government needs to open its market soon by quickening its pace in setting up economic pilot zones and the Taoyuan Aerotropolis (桃園航空城) to lure more foreign investors, Lai said.

The government should also introduce new measures and strategies to attract more foreign investment, given the lukewarm 0.49 percent annual growth in foreign direct investment of US$3.96 billion in the first 10 months, Lai said.

However, industry leaders did not say whether they are concerned about potential regression in trade ties with China after the Democratic Progressive Party — which holds a conservative attitude toward deepening Taiwan’s trade relations with China — clinched a landslide victory in Saturday’s elections.

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