Wed, Jul 23, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Boost economic competitiveness: Siew

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The country must upgrade its competitiveness and boost domestic demand to prevent the economy from plunging into a slump, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said yesterday.

Over the past seven or eight years, the economy has focused on China and Southeast Asia, whose end market was in the US and Europe, he said. While the US economy is in dire straits, Taiwan cannot depend on exports to drive its economic growth, he said.

This means the government must adjust its economic policy, he said. One solution would be to boost domestic demand; another would be to elevate the nation’s competitiveness, Siew said while meeting members of the Association of Chain and Franchise Promotion, Taiwan at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

He said the country would sail through the difficult economic situation as it did the Asian Financial Crisis a decade ago if the government could boost domestic demand and upgrade competitiveness.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said the US need not worry about “unilateral changes of the ‘status quo’ by the Taiwan government.”

Cross-strait relations have entered a new era of stability, peace and prosperity, he said. Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) “understanding” of the “1992 consensus” had had a significant impact on cross-strait developments, he said.

As cross-strait relations improve, the US and Japan do not need to worry about a war in the Strait and they can focus their attention on strengthening ties with Taipei on other issues.

If the development of cross-strait relations follows the path his government has planned, peace and stability would be sustained, he said, adding that when that day comes, the US and Japan could develop sound relationships with Taiwan without having to choose sides in the case of a military conflict.

Ma said he understood peace and stability did not happen overnight, but was confident that his government could make it happen.

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