Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday that recent movements in various indicators showed that Taiwan’s economy will be strong this year.
Addressing the opening ceremony of a job fair in Taipei, Shih expressed confidence that Taiwan’s economy has recovered and employment is rising.
“Taiwan’s economy should be strong this year,” Shih said, citing many economic indicators.
Shih said the IMF expected Taiwan to achieve GDP growth of 6.5 percent this year, and the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) has forecast the economy to grow by at least 5 percent.
If those forecasts prove correct, Taiwan’s economic growth will outpace that of the other Asian Tigers — Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore — Shih added.
In addition, Shih said the value of export orders and industrial production both set a new high last month, indicating that Taiwan’s economy is growing at a fast pace, which will contribute to increasing jobs in the private sector.
A total of 507 companies participated in the job fair organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs for enterprises in northern Taiwan, where more than 35,000 jobs were offered.
Taiwan’s unemployment rate dropped last month to 5.67 percent, down 0.09 percentage points from the previous month, with the unemployed total at 624,000, down 10,000.
Separately, Shih said that Taiwan and China were likely to complete an “early harvest list” in the fourth round of bilateral talks on a cross-strait economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).
“Taiwan and China will be able to fix the major items to be included on the list in their third-round talks, which may take place in late April or early May,” Shih told reporters.
“Therefore, the two sides are expected to settle the ‘early harvest list’ in the fourth talks, and it could be published if both sides agree to do so,” he added.
The “early harvest list” is a list of items that would enjoy an immediate reduction or elimination of tariffs after (and if) an ECFA is signed.
The priority tax cut list is the centerpiece of the agreement, which the government says will help Taiwan avoid marginalization amid increasingly integrated trade in the region.
Shih said the machinery, textile, petrochemical and transportation industries, as well as a few categories of information-related products, will be included on the “early harvest list” to be put forth by his ministry.
“One thing is for sure, Taiwan’s ‘early harvest list’ will be more comprehensive than China’s,” he added.
This means that the number of items and their total export value will certainly be higher than China’s because of the difference in the size of the two markets, he said.
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