Mon, Jan 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Poll reveals broad support for `active management'

POPULAR POLL A survey conducted by the Taiwan Thinktank found that almost 66 percent of respondents approve of the president's proposed cross-strait policy

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

An opinion poll conducted in the wake of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) New Year speech revealed yesterday that nearly 66 percent of the public supported Chen's idea of tightening the government's management of cross-strait economic relations.

The president announced in his New Year address that the new cross-strait economic policy would be "active management, effective opening," which is expected to place greater emphasis on management, rather than opening.

The poll was released yesterday by the Taiwan Thinktank, a private research institute in Taiwan which is independent of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, but is politically aligned with it.

According to the poll, 74 percent of the interviewees agreed that the nation's economy is over-reliant on China and 66 percent of those polled supported the government's decision to step up its management of China-bound investments in order to reduce the risks that might negatively impact on Taiwan's economy.

The poll was carried out between Tuesday and Thursday and received a total of 1,067 valid responses. It had a margin of error of 3 percent.

In addition, the survey found that 51 percent of the public supported the government's decision to be stricter on China-bound investments, while, by comparison, 33 percent of poll respondents asked for more relaxation on economic exchanges with China.

Forty-eight percent of respondents agreed that the government should only allow manageable investments, while 22 percent thought that there should be more management and less opening of cross-strait economic exchanges.

Regarding whether unification should be considered a precondition for cross-strait exchanges, 89 percent of those polled disagreed, while only 6 percent agreed.

Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), former chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council and now a professor at National Taiwan University, said yesterday that the reason the government had tightened its control over economic exchanges with China was because recent statistics showed that 80 percent of the top 50 Taiwanese enterprises investing in China did not remit their profits back to Taiwan, a grave situation that would seriously undermine the nation's economy.

Chen said recent investigations by the Ministry of Economic Affairs showed that more and more Taiwanese companies were stuck with low-end investments in China that only generated small returns and didn't contribute significantly to the Taiwanese economy.

Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), a research fellow at the Academia Sinica, said the poll showed that the president's New Year speech was in line with the people's expectation for him to play a balancing role in cross-strait economic relations.

Hsu said that the poll's results should be regarded as objective, as the sample was made up of people from across party lines, with at least 66 percent of each political group voicing support for increased management of investments in China.

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