Sun, Nov 10, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Tsai has proven her value to nation

By Lee Po-chih 李博志

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is Taiwan’s first female president and the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), after former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Following the DPP’s major defeat in the 2008 presidential election, Tsai, then a political outsider, stepped forward and rose to the DPP leadership at a time when courage seemed to be in short supply.

Despite initial losses in the November 2010 New Taipei City mayoral race and the January 2012 presidential election, her intrepidness and endurance finally started to pay dividends.

Under Tsai’s leadership, along with help from the unpopular policies of the then-ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the DPP regained momentum in the following general election.

On Jan. 16, 2016, Tsai won the presidency by a landslide, beating her KMT opponent, former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), by a margin of 25 percent. Tsai was inaugurated as president on May 20, 2016.

In the past three-and-a-half years, Tsai has demonstrated she is a decent, effective and trustworthy leader. Her proven records in the economic and political realms have set an example for others. She therefore deserves a second term.

The global economy has suffered due to the impact of the US-China trade dispute and Brexit. However, the government has minimized the effects by undertaking an innovative trade and investment initiative named the New Southbound Policy, which Tsai originally proposed in September 2015 as part of her policy platform as the DPP presidential candidate.

The policy was created to reduce Taiwan’s dependence on China, and to improve Taiwan’s cooperation and exchange between 18 selected countries in Southeast and South Asia and Oceania in the areas of the “5 plus 2” innovative industries plan: the “Asian Silicon Valley” project, smart machinery, biotechnology-related projects, green energy, the defense industry, innovative agriculture and the circular economy.

The policy has achieved significant results since it was established on Sept. 5, 2016.

During the first 10 months of this year, The Ministry of Economic Affairs has approved 151 Taiwanese companies’ applications to return to Taiwan to invest a total of NT$623.6 billion (US$20.5 billion) in the manufacturing sector, which is expected to create about 54,970 jobs.

The ministry also said that it expects about NT$200 billion of the approved investments to materialize by the end of this year.

In addition to Taiwanese firms, foreign enterprises have invested heavily in Taiwan this year.

Based on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates, global foreign direct investment (FDI) has been substantially reduced by 20 percent for the first six months of this year.

However, the inflow of FDI to Taiwan has reached more than US$7 billion, representing a 7 percent increase for the first 10 months of this year.

Taiwan’s GDP has maintained steady progress, with an average annual growth rate of 2.4 percent since 2016. The growth rate for this year is expected to be 2.5 percent, the best among Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong.

The inflow of FDI and return of Taiwanese companies from China should produce positive effects on the Taiwan economy in 2020 and after.

IMF data show that Taiwan’s GDP, measured in nominal US dollars, ranked 21st in the world last year at US$601 billion, and is the eighth-largest economy in Asia, after China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

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