Wed, Aug 03, 2016 - Page 11 News List

Hu Sheng-cheng takes helm at CIER

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Former Council for Economic Planning and Development chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) yesterday took over the chairmanship of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER, 中華經濟研究院), saying he would highlight the population’s age index to help the government better grasp demographic trends and to formulate appropriate policies.

Hu, 76, who has a doctorate in economics from the University of Rochester in New York, said CIER under his stewardship would aim to conduct better quality and forward-looking research to better serve the government, industry and society.

“The nation’s rapidly aging population merits the compilation of an aging index to allow policymakers and the public to better understand the issue and the adjustments it will bring,” Hu said at a handover ceremony.

The National Development Council estimated that the number of people aged 65 or older would comprise 14 percent of the population by 2018 and 20 percent by 2025, making Taiwan a “hyper-aged” society.

The demographic trend poses economic challenges, as national productivity, income and competitiveness might slow, while medical expenses would soar.

The government has set up a task force to reform the pension system to make it more reasonable and sustainable.

CIER is in charge of compiling the purchasing managers’ index and the non-manufacturing Index — with funding from National Development Council — on a monthly basis.

The Taipei-based think tank updates its forecast for GDP growth quarterly and organizes symposiums on regional trade and the economy, energy development, environmental protection, international relations and other topics.

Hu said he supports the government’s “new southbound policy,” saying it would help domestic firms expand their export markets without abandoning present ones.

Concentration on a few sectors and markets has rendered Taiwan vulnerable to external shocks, as seen when the technology bubble burst in 2001 and in the global financial crisis of 2008, he said, adding that Taiwan is taking a hit from China’s economic rebalancing, with the cross-strait market accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s exports.

CIER has created a center for ASEAN studies and could help advance the “new southbound policy,” Hu said.

He said the government’s measure to stimulate private investment is the right remedy for the tepid economy.

Hu served as chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission and was also a minister without portfolio.

CIER was created in 1981 by the government to offer policy recommendations.

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