Fri, Dec 23, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Economy in encouraging shape, vice premier says

CNA , TAIPEI

Vice Premier Wu Rong-i (吳榮義) said yesterday that Taiwan's economy is in good shape and the public should have confidence in the nation.

Wu made the remarks while delivering a speech in Taichung at the annual meeting of the Chinese Water Resources Management Society in his capacity as president of the non-profit association.

Noting that Taiwan's economy began to slow down in May 2000 when the global economy was experiencing a downturn, Wu said that as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power at that time, some have blamed Taiwan's economic problems on what they call the DPP's lack of talent or incompetence in running the nation.

But after negative growth in 2001, the nation's economy rebounded to show positive growth the following year and has since maintained growth of around 4 percent or above, Wu said.

"The figures clearly show that Taiwan's economy has rebounded, although some still cling to the old memory of 2001 and continue to be pessimistic about the nation's economy," he said.

"In terms of economic growth, the unemployment rate and the annual increase in the consumer price index, Taiwan's economy is in good shape," he added.

Looking ahead, economic performance next year should be even better, Wu said, adding that GDP growth should reach 4.5 percent, the jobless rate will likely be reduced to 4 percent and the annual increase in the consumer price index is expected to be maintained at 2 percent.

Most local economic think tanks -- including Academia Sinica, the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) -- are optimistic about Taiwan's economic growth for next year. The think tanks believe growth could top 4 percent, with the expectation that international oil prices will level out and the growth of world trade will likely accelerate next year.

CEPD Vice Chairman Thomas Yeh (葉明峰) quoted a CEPD forecast as predicting that Taiwan's economy will expand by 4.5 percent next year as a result of a series of stimulus measures, including more public construction projects to be launched nationwide.

Liang Kuo-yuan (梁國源), the president of the Taipei-based Polaris Research Institute, predicted that private consumption will be one of the prime movers behind Taiwan's GDP next year, which is expected to top 4.18 percent.

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