Sat, May 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Economic growth conference attracts cross-party support

NATIONAL INTEREST A conference next month will be preceded by a series of eight press conferences to highlight the issues to be discussed

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The "Economic Sustainable Growth Conference" is to be held on June 18 and June 19 with participation from across the political spectrum, Council for Economic Planning and Development Chairman Hu Sheng-cheng (胡勝正) announced yesterday.

"We have talked to leaders of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and People First Party (PFP) and heavyweights from both parties have indicated their concerns and their willingness to participate in the conference," Hu said at a press conference held at the Government Information Office in Taipei yesterday.

The Cabinet is planning to organize a further eight press conferences before June 18 to present the issues which are going to be discussed during the Economic Sustainable Growth Conference. Hu made his remarks during the the first of the conferences held yesterday morning.

"Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has visited senior KMT and PFP figures over the past two months and all of them, including Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), said that they were willing to help brainstorm ideas during the conference," he said.

Hu introduced the issues of falling birth rates and growing social inequality at yesterday's press conference.

He said a declining birth rate was normal in most developed countries but the government would still encourage married couples to have more children.

Noting the gap between rich and poor, Hu said it has been gradually shrinking over the past few years.

However, many Taiwanese people believe that the gap is still wide due to extensive media coverage of high unemployment figures and the rising number of credit card abusers.

"What we have learned from the experiences of other developed countries is that the gap between the richest and poorest in society will widen as the economy grows," he said.

Hu said the government had consistently protected the nation's poorest citizens' rights, opportunities for employment and access to social security. However, whether these policies were on the right track and whether there was a need to amend the policies would be discussed during the conference.

Twenty people will take part in the conference, including seven lawmakers, four government officials and nine scholars or professors, he said.

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