Cabinet passes export proposal

RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER: The New Zheng He Plan was named after a Ming dynasty mariner who symbolized perseverance and overcoming difficulties

By Shih Hsiu-Chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Dec 26, 2008 - Page 12

The Cabinet yesterday approved an NT$8.53 billion (US$258.7 million) plan to boost exports in the next four years, in the hope of receiving export orders of more than NT$540 billion annually to turn expected negative export growth next year into a positive.

The director-general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬), unveiled the proposal, named the New Zheng He Plan (新鄭和計畫), at a press conference following the Cabinet meeting.

Huang said the name symbolized overcoming all difficulties the government may encounter in the spirit of perseverance demonstrated by Zheng He, a master mariner of the Ming dynasty.

Taiwan’s exports last month fell 23.3 percent from a year earlier, marking the third consecutive month of decline. Export orders have posted single digit growth since June, with the indicator dropping by a record 28.51 percent last month.

Despite the global economic slowdown, the government has managed to halt the decline in exports this month after adopting a set of measures, Huang said.

In the first half of this month, exports to China posted negative growth of more than 20 percent, but overall exports showed negative growth of about 3 percent, he said.

“By keeping the same measures in place, we hope to make the export figures this month and next year positive and keep next year’s economic growth rate at 2.5 percent as the Council for Economic Planning and Development recently projected,” Huang said.

Under the program, about two-thirds of the funding, or NT$5.58 billion, will be used to enhance export financing through preferential loans, seeking cooperation with global re-lending banks and providing export credit insurance.

The program also aimed to expand shipments to China and the five biggest emerging markets of India, Russia, Brazil, ASEAN countries and the Middle East, as well as attract international buyers to come to Taiwan to place orders.

“We will host several large-scale sourcing fairs on the model of ‘one-stop exhibitions,’ which have been very successful, so international buyers can talk face-to-face with all possible local suppliers of the products they intend to buy,” Huang said.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet approved Taiwan’s accession to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), a WTO agreement signed by 39 GPA members to bid for government tenders in Taiwan and give Taiwanese companies access to government projects in other countries.

Liu said in a press statement that he hoped the legislature could ratify the GPA and amend legislation related to the agreement to take effect in February as scheduled.