An industry advocacy group yesterday urged incoming minister of economics Lee Chih-kung (李世光) to improve Taiwan’s investment environment and ensure the stability of the nation’s electricity supply, with the Democratic Progressive Party administration having pledged to phase out nuclear power by 2025.
“The top priority for the new minister of economics should be to raise investors’ confidence about Taiwan’s investment environment,” Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI, 全國工業總會) secretary-general Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生) said by telephone.
Taiwan’s investment environment is deteriorating, as the possibility of water, power, and land shortages are weighing on investments, Tsai said, adding that a lack of talented workers is also making investors hesitate.
Tsai said that a stable electricity supply is very important to the development of the nation’s industries, and that the business community is worried that if the new government abandons nuclear power by 2025, electricity supplies will not be sufficient to support the nation’s economic activity.
Ensuring that power supplies remain stable is the key to a better investment environment, he added.
General Chamber of Commerce (全國商業總會) chairman Lai Cheng-i (賴正鎰) shared a similar view with Tsai, saying that Lee should draft feasible and detailed plans to boost investments in the nation.
“How to attract more investment to the nation should be at the top of Lee’s list after he takes office, as investments from overseas shrunk more than 15 percent last year from 2014,” Lai said by telephone, citing Investment Commission data.
Foreign investments from all sources plunged 16.87 percent annually to US$4.79 billion last year, with investment from China plummeting 27.06 percent to US$244.06 million, according to Investment Commission data.
The incoming minister of economics should also encourage Taiwanese businessmen and enterprises to invest more domestically, Lai said, adding that increased investment in Taiwan could boost the nation’s employment rate and raise wage levels.
The incoming minister of economics should also carry on the government’s push to ink free-trade agreements so that tariff barriers for Taiwanese manufacturers can be lowered, Lai said.
“I hope that the incoming minister can make progress on the trade in goods pact with China and the cross-strait service trade agreement. The business community also expects the government to help Taiwan join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Lai said.
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