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Wed, Jul 04, 2001 - Page 3 News List

KMT endorses economic council

COOPERATION The leading opposition party will serve on the economic advisory council and is expected to call for the lifting of a ban on direct trade with China

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) planned cross-party economic advisory council will provide an opportunity for the government to reconcile with rival parties and stimulate the nation's economy, KMT officials said yesterday.

"A harmonious political climate is key to pursuing economic prosperity," said Chiang Ping-kun (江丙坤), chief executive of the National Policy Foundation, a KMT think thank.

"The economic council being organized may serve as a venue for building mutual trust among dissenting parties."

Chiang, the former head of the Council for Planning and Development, said that the global economic slowdown was to blame for the country's sluggish economy, as evidenced by contracting capital investment and rising bad loans.

He added that sustained partisan feuding has only compounded the problem.

"The government should seek to maintain domestic stability while waiting for the international picture to turn favorable," Chiang said.

As in the past, it is expected that the KMT will call on the government to lift bans on direct trade, communications and transportation links between China and Taiwan.

"It is unrealistic to separate cross-strait affairs from the economy," Chiang's aide told the Taipei Times.

The aide, who refused to be identified, added that direct transportation in particular will give local investors incentives to stay in Taiwan as it would take them only one hour to fly directly from Taipei to Shanghai.

"They can then conduct their business in China from a Taiwan office," the aide said.

There are over 50,000 firms in China owned by Taiwan businessmen.

President Chen, who has focused his energy over the last year on preserving peace across the Taiwan Strait, said earlier he will make boosting the economy the number one priority of his administration.

Pursuing prosperity

* The group is expected to unveil its plan to jump-start the ailing economy in August.

* KMT officials announced yesterday that they will participate on the council.

* The KMT is expected to call on the government to lift bans on direct trade, communications and transportation links between China and Taiwan.

Source: taipei times

To that end, the Presidential Office is planning an economic council drawing participants from across the nation in the hope of brainstorming remedies for the ailing economy.

Cashing in on its numerical superiority, the KMT-led opposition alliance has given the Cabinet a rough ride in the legislature and repeatedly struck down major policy bills drafted by the executive branch.

"As the main opposition party, the KMT is deeply concerned about policy issues that have an important bearing on the public interest," said Paul Chiu (邱正雄), the former finance minister.

In a show of goodwill, the KMT has permitted Vice Legislative Yuan Speaker Yao Eng-chi (饒穎奇) to act as deputy convener of the economic panel, which will be chaired by Premier Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

A preparatory meeting will be held on Sunday with the aim of working out rules for the economic council, likely to take place in August.

In addition, the KMT will urge the government to convene the National Unification Council, which has been in a state of abeyance although President Chen has pledged to leave it intact.

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