Mon, Jan 27, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Chen pushes `Taiwan priority'

DOMESTIC INVESTMENTThe president used the upgrading of the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park prepartatory office to urge businesses to keep their base at home


President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday urged all industrial leaders to follow the government's "Taiwan priority" policy of investing domestically before going to China, saying that Taiwan should be the base of their businesses for earning money from the world.

Chen made the plea during his speech at a ceremony marking the upgrading of the preparatory office of the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park into a permanent agency.

"The policy of `enhancing Tai-wan's development, mapping the global market,' was the consensus of the 2001 Economic Development Advisory Conference and it is our goal to see industry headquarters based in Taiwan making profits from the global market," Chen said.

"By so doing, any corner of the world can be your foothold, and you'll be able to build your global business empire," he said.

Just last week the Cabinet gave preliminary approval to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to invest in 8-inch wafer manufacturing in China, a move that triggered almost immediate protests from the TSU.

The TSU accused the DPP of acting for the benefit of the country's biggest enemy.

Chen's remarks yesterday appeared to be a reaction to that criticism as well as a patriotic appeal to business people.

However, he also promoted the Tainan industrial park, saying the establishment of the preparatory office signified the government's efforts to boost industrial upgrading in the south.

"In the past, southern Taiwan mainly housed petrochemical and other labor-intensive traditional industries, while financial services and high-tech industries were concentrated in northern Taiwan," Chen said.

"The establishment of the Tainan industrial park marks a critical step in the push for a more balanced industrial development among the different regions," he said.

Chen said that since the preparatory office was first set up six years ago to oversee infrastructure construction and to attract investment in the Tainan park, the annual production of companies in the park has exceeded NT$100 billion (US$2.89 billion) and the total work force in the park has reached 15,000 people.

"The upgrading of the preparatory office to a permanent agency -- the Tainan Science-based Indus-trial Park Administration -- symbolizes a new milestone in southern Taiwan's high-tech industry development," Chen said.

He stressed that in the near future there will be at least nine chip foundries in the park and that Tainan County will become the center of the country's 12-inch wafer manufacturers.

"The development of the Tainan industrial park highlights the government's achievement of a technology corridor in western Taiwan and a milestone in realizing the government's `green silicon' policy," Chen said.

The Tainan park has had a "cluster effect" in the nation's opto-electronics industry development as nearly all of the local companies in the field have set up production facilities in the park, Chen said.

Chen said that although Taiwan has been hit by the worldwide economic slowdown, it still managed to register a growth rate of 3.3 percent last year, higher than Singapore's 2.7 percent, the US' 2.4 percent and Hong Kong's 2.1 percent.

"I'm convinced that Taiwan will post an even higher growth rate this year, " Chen said.

The president added that his administration will continue to give priority to efforts to promote investment and economic development at home as well as carrying out sweeping political and administrative reforms.

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