Fri, May 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

DPP touts economy in Tsai’s first year

MORE INFRASTRUCTURE:DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao said the government would keep improving the investment environment and increasing public spending

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The nation has experienced stable economic growth during the first year of President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration, with the economy over the past year posting better numbers than in previous years, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday.

The economy showed year-to-year declines in the third and fourth quarters of 2015 when then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was in office, but Tsai turned a decline of 0.63 percent into 2.88 percent growth in the same period last year, the DPP said.

The economic indicators were “blue” for the 10 months from June 2015 to March last year during Ma’s administration, suggesting economic stagnation, while the indicators were “green” for the nine months from May last year to March, indicating steady economic development, it said.

There was a year-on-year decline of 12.1 percent in merchandise exports in the first quarter last year, but there was a 15.1 percent increase in the same period this year, it said.

Export volume to China was up 9.4 percent in the second half of last year compared with the same period in 2015, while the Ma administration experienced a year-on-year decrease of 11.5 percent in the category in the first half of last year, the party said.

A total of 10.69 million tourists visited Taiwan last year, an increase of 250,000 tourists from 2015, with substantial growth in tourists from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau, despite a steep fall in the number of Chinese visitors, it said.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.78 percent in March from 3.89 percent in the same month last year, with the number of unemployed people dropping by 10,000, while 76,000 more people were employed during the period, the DPP said.

There was a 12.5 percent increase in overtime pay in January and February due to the five-day workweek policy, which requires employers to pay higher overtime rates, and the increase was the largest growth over the past seven years, it said.

The average monthly salary rose by 1.35 percent from NT$38,716 in 2015 to NT$39,238 last year, it said.

Taiwan ranked No. 14 in the Global Competitiveness Index last year, according to the yearly report published by the World Economic Forum, outperforming South Korea, which was No. 26.

According to a report published by the US-based Heritage Foundation, Taiwan ranked No. 11 in terms of economic freedom, up from No. 25 in 2008, while South Korea ranked No. 27 this year, suggesting that the government’s efforts to improve the investment environment have paid off.

“A look at those statistics is revealing. Compared with Ma’s eight years, Tsai has revived the economy in just one year, which shows the government’s resolve to boost the economy,” DPP Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said.

“The government will continue its effort to improve the investment environment, increase public spending on infrastructure and revise regulatory frameworks,” DPP spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said, calling for the swift passage of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program bill, which has been stalled in the legislature due to obstruction by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

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