Realization of a Vision: Taiwan's Road to Economic Growth
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China)
July 30, 2013
Summary: It is now one year into President Ma's second term. It is now one year away from the upcoming national elections. He must demonstrate courage. He has little time to produce results. Today's summit has convened. We believe the government has the courage and determination necessary to revive the economy. The implementation of reform allows no room for compromise. President Ma, please do not let the people down!
Full text below:
The "2013 Turning Point: Blazing a Trail for Taiwan's Economy" summit convenes today. This is the second time the United Daily News Vision Workshop has promoted its "Taiwan's Rapid Transformation" project. Compare this to last year's "Critical Two Years for Taiwan's Economy: Blazing a Trail for Taiwan's Economy" summit. Today's summit continues the tradition. We hope it will fufill its goal: rapid transformation to jump start a stalled economy.
As we enter the 21st century, Taiwan's economy is essentially stalled. In 2001, the technology bubble burst. In 2004, SARS struck. In 2008, the financial tsunami inundated us. Add to this stalemated cross-Strait relations, and GDP growth moving at a snail's pace. We no longer display the vitality of an emerging developing economy. We survived the financial tsunami. But our slow growth rate has not improved. If anything, it has worsened. This newspaper's United Daily News Group Vision Workshop, established last year, proposed as its first vision the "Taiwan's Rapid Transformation" project. This project will explore issues in depth. It will organize government-academia summits to discuss economic policy priorities for the next two years. It will submit the summit recommendations to President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang. It will issue follow-up reports. It will urge the different parties to move at a faster pace, to do better. to achieve greater results, allowing Taiwan's economy to undergo positive changes.
Over the past year, we have begun to see results. Seven of last year's Summit Declarations have been realized. Taipei-Tokyo industrial cooperation continues to improve. The Executive Yuan has increased economic momentum and improved the industrial structure. The president and the legislature have successfully promoted free trade agreements (FTAs), the cross-strait economic agreement (ECFA), the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), one of four major agreements under consultation, and the "Taiwan-New Zealand economic cooperation agreement." They are paying more attention to the brain drain and other critical policy matters. Regrettably, their response has not been fast enough. detailed enough, or substantive enough. Confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties persists. Internal friction persists. We hear rhetoric, but no dialogue. As a result, policies remain ineffectual. The people feel helpless. This year's economic growth rate has fallen headlong. At the beginning of the year the forecast was for 4 to 5%. It was revised downward to 3%. Now we may have to settle for an embarrassing 2%. Add to this the referendum on the Number Four Nuclear Power Plant, urban renewal, the demolition and relocation of Ta Pu, the Hung Chung-chiu case, and other controversies. Public dissatisfaction with the government continues to increase.
Today, we are organizing another trail-blazing summit. Its purpose is to give economic issues a boost. Taiwan's economic predicament requires open dialogue between the government and the public. They must inspire each other. They must seek a new direction together. The United Daily News is a responsible member of the media. It is willing to offer a podium to scholars, in the hope that they will issue a clarion call to the government and the public, urging them to act in unison and extricate Taiwan's economy from the mire, and as soon as possible put it back on the road to growth.
The focus of the summit is immediate measures to revive the economy. These include economic structural adjustment measures, economic liberalization programs, and economic confidence restoration projects, short term and long. Former Vice President Vincent Siew has long been concerned about Taiwan's economy. He will be the summit's chief moderator. Four Executive Yuan heads will also speak on matters of special concern. Dialogue between officials and the public is expected to be lively. We anticipate both passion and wisdom.
Sparks may fly during the summit, but eventually they must be turned into concrete policies and actions. Only then can they transform Taiwan and fulfill our vision of growth. The government will be confronted with a wide range of recommendations. It must keep in mind two guiding principles. One. It must realize that without the present, there can be no future. It must buy time to implement long term reforms. Shinzo Abe's highly controversial Abenomics may not be applicable to Taiwan. But Abe's efforts have halted Japan's fall. They have gradually restored public confidence. They have also won increased political support. Short-term success increases the credibility of long-term reforms. This is the key to the restoration of economic confidence.
Two. We must look to the future, but we must lay the groundwork now. The affairs of state are varied, controversial, and require urgent solution. But the government cannot always clean up the mess left behind. It can easily find itself mired in one controversy after another. It can easily find itself overwhelmed. If so, society will descend into chaos. Economic stagnation and recession will follow. Therefore the government must learn to prioritize. It must rid itself of current entanglements. It must skip ahead to the future, adopt a forward-looking posture, and consider countermeasures. That will enable it to think clearly and act calmly.
It is now one year into President Ma's second term. It is now one year away from the upcoming national elections. He must demonstrate courage. He has little time to produce results. Today's summit has convened. We believe the government has the courage and determination necessary to revive the economy. The implementation of reform allows no room for compromise. President Ma, please do not let the people down!
2013.07.30 01:45 am