Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Easy sailing for economic symposium

STANDING TOGETHER As hundreds of resolutions were approved at the Economic Development Advisory Conference, the president expressed confidence that the drafts would again `push the economy to its peak'

By Kevin Chen and Stanley Chou  /  STAFF REPORTERS , WITH AGENCIES

President Chen Shui-bian, left, shakes hands with Vicent Siew, Vice Chairman of the KMT, during the conclusion of the Economic Development Advisory Conference at the World Trade Center yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) chaired the opening of the nation's three-day Economic Development Advisory Conference yesterday, saying his resolve to uphold the decisions of the meeting was firm.

``When there's a clear consensus, the government cannot reject it. We must respect the spirit of a consensus that comes from the bottom and goes to the top,'' Chen said.

The conference -- established to chart out a basic economic strategy, including improving the nation's investment climate, trade liberalization, technology innovation and government reform -- went on as hundreds of protesters rallied outside the meeting at the Taipei International Convention Center.

Proposals rubber-stamped by the conference will be sent to the Cabinet, where government agencies will promptly introduce relevant policy proposals and bills after the event concludes this weekend, Chen said.

`prosperity on

the horizon'

"I believe another wave of economic prosperity will be created to push the economy to its peak after the council's conclusions are implemented," the president said.

The summit comes just days after the government reported that the economy contracted 2.35 percent in the second quarter, unemployment rose for an eleventh straight month and exports dropped by more than a quarter in July.

Much of the blame for the sour economy has been attributed to the global slump in the computer and telecommunications markets. That has meant slow demand for the semiconductors, mobile phones and electronics parts that comprise half the nation's output of goods and services.

Two of the five panels put their proposals on the floor yesterday, with 139 resolutions proposed by the industrial panel being over-whelmingly approved.

Formosa Plastics Group Chairman Wang Yung-ching (王永慶), who serves as a vice chairman of the conference and convener of the industrial panel, said yesterday that the meeting was very important for the competitiveness of Taiwan's industry, as China's labor costs are only one-tenth of Taiwan's.

Vice Premier Lai In-jaw (賴英照), who also acts as a convener of the meeting, proposed that professionals from foreign countries and China who want to work in Taiwan should be given five-year working visas.

The original proposal -- targeting only high-tech professionals -- should be deregulated to cover all industries, Lai said.

The proposal was passed without opposition from conference members.

Meanwhile, a total of 74 proposals of the investment panel were passed by the economic conference's general meeting yesterday on a consensus basis, while 17 proposals had only majority support.

many causes

"The deteriorating investment environment in Taiwan involves problems that are associated with both economic and non-economic factors," said Premier Chang Chung-hsiung (張俊雄), who is also a vice chairman of the conference.

"I'm glad the conference has agreed upon a certain number of proposals, which will help enhance the government's administrative efficiency and offer more incentives to lure foreign investment."

In one of the most important of the 74 proposals passed yesterday, the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Industrial Development Bureau has been assigned to map out a plan to deregulate the current laws governing the use of land in industrial parks within the next three months, Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Hsin-yi (林信義) said after the conference closed up shop for the day.

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