INTERVIEW: Taiwan needs to attract investors: premier - Taipei Times
Tue, Aug 30, 2016 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Taiwan needs to attract investors: premier

Saying that the nation’s economy needs to be revived and citing a need for greater investment, Premier Lin Chuan told ‘Liberty Times’ (sister paper of the ‘Taipei Times’) reporters Tzou Jiing-wen, Lee Hsin-fang and Cheng Chi-fang that the Executive Yuan hopes to plant the seeds of growth with the ‘five major innovative industries’: Taiwan as Asia’s Silicon Valley, mechanisms for the development of intellectual prowess, ‘green’ technology, biotechnology and national defense

Liberty Times (LT): How should the government implement its innovative national defense and Industry 4.0 policies?

Premier Lin Chuan (林全): The national defense industry might not be a large tree, but it is a very important one. National defense industries and the industrial sector are complementary in nature, and Taiwan has a solid foundation in both.

With increased globalization efforts on Taiwan’s part, the government is also considering how to sell the products of these industries to other nations. The current obstacle to this is the lack of some key techniques or technology, and to obtain such technology or techniques would require investment into research and development and considerable manpower. This is not something small companies are capable of.

Taiwan has many excellent companies, but they are all rather small-scale, which draws out the time taken to achieve breakthroughs in certain technologies and techniques. Sometimes the size of the company outright prohibits the possibility of obtaining such breakthroughs.

If the government can usher in a closer synchronization of production and research, our companies would have a greater chance of achieving breakthroughs in technology. This is the basis for the advancement of the industrial sector and the national defense industry.

Taiwan has not been able to bring production and research close enough, which is evident in the disconnect between corporations and the research conducted at Academia Sinica, the National Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology, the Industrial Technology Research Institute and various other schools.

Regardless of whether it conducted at public or private institutions, most research is scattered and self-contained; they are not given a clear direction. Most research even ends up being purely academic, while other researchers have even started conducting research for other countries.

We hope to find more commercial value for our research, and in order to do so we must invest more resources.

While I agree with the importance of academic research, it is the government’s hope that some resources should be shifted to commercial research. We are hoping to combine the two by making available public funds earmarked for technology.

Should the government feel that there are some fields, or some key technologies, that need a breakthrough, or that a particular field is important; the government will be able to allot the necessary fund from the technology budget for a fiscal year toward research into that field or technology. At the same time, the government will mandate that the research proposal make clear its commercial value.

With regards to manufacturing locally developed aircraft and ships, Taiwan is already able to manufacture the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF).

While we have to collaborate with other nations to manufacture some components of the IDF, recent reports show that we are 90 percent sure that we could, for the most part, domestically manufacture high-end trainer aircraft.

These plans to domestically manufacture aircraft will create commercial values for mechanical engineering and production of basic materials, which would become known globally, boosting the sale of Taiwanese products in global markets, and allowing Taiwan a foothold in the international market.

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