Tsai highlights economy as polls near

BETTER OFF NOW::President Tsai Ing-wen said that foreign investors and Taiwanese businesses returning from China have made this an ‘explosive’ year for the economy

By Su Chin-feng, Chang Jui-chen and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Sun, Aug 18, 2019 - Page 3

Economic growth over the past three years was higher than that under the previous administration, and is projected to reach 2.46 percent this year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

Yesterday, Tsai visited the facilities of watercraft propeller manufacturer Solas (般若科技公司) in Taichung with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅).

Speaking to reporters afterward, Tsai said that economic growth this year has reached 2.42 percent, and is expected to reach 2.46 percent before the end of the year — the highest growth rate among the Asian Tigers, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, this year.

Taiwanese businesses moving facilities back home amid the US-China trade dispute have brought NT$540 billion (US$17.22 billion) in investment back to the nation, she said, adding that total investment could reach NT$800 billion before the end of the year.

“This is an explosive year for investment in Taiwan,” she said, adding that other domestic businesses and foreign investors were also investing more in the nation’s economy this year.

The government has complemented the investments with the tax cuts it implemented in May, the largest to date, she said.

The government is helping workers by raising the minimum monthly salary to NT$23,800, introducing new childcare subsidies and implementing new long-term healthcare policies, she added.

Addressing the anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong, Tsai said she hoped the democracy that Hong Kongers were fighting for could be realized.

National security officials have been meeting regularly due to increasingly complex international circumstances, she said.

Asked about public opinion polls showing that she leads Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) going into next year’s president election, Tsai said that surveys should only be used for reference.

Separately yesterday, the Taiwan Forever Association held its annual fundraising dinner, which was attended by Taiwan New Constitution Foundation founder Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) and DPP Chairman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰).

Tsai has a plan and would comprehensively consider each candidate before choosing a running mate, Cho said.

Koo, who has pushed for Tsai to choose former premier William Lai (賴清德) as a running mate, said that there was still a possibility that the two might run together.

They just need one or two more months to work things out, he added.

Tsai would continue to highlight the achievements of her administration over the next few months leading up to the election, party sources said.

Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang