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President Ma attends investment promotion conference

President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of August 23 was accompanied
by Premier Wu Den-yih, Vice Premier Sean C. Chen, and Council for Economic Planning
and Development Minister Christina Y. Liu to attend “Invest in Taiwan” conference.
The president urged domestic and foreign enterprises as well as institutional investors
to increase their investments here, adding that Taiwan can be used to link up the
two sides of the Taiwan Strait with the global marketplace. By working together,
he said, we can create a "golden decade" of enormous business opportunity.

President Ma said that over two years ago during his campaign
for the presidency, he unveiled the economic strategy of "building up Taiwan, linking
up with the Asia-Pacific region, and creating a global presence." He added that
this effort is aimed at turning Taiwan into a global center for innovation, an Asia-Pacific
economic and trade hub, a global operations headquarters for Taiwan companies, and
a regional operations center for foreign firms. The president said that in order
to "build up Taiwan," the government, under the precondition of protecting the environment,
will develop a convenient transportation network that spans Taiwan. Other projects
in this initiative will be the redevelopment of Kaohsiung Harbor, a new industrial
cluster of high-tech companies in central Taiwan, the creation of the Taoyuan Aerotropolis,
and renewal projects for both urban areas and industrial zones. These are among
the projects set forth in the i-Taiwan 12 Projects program. In addition, other measures
include tax incentives, promotion of industrial innovation, development of emerging
industries, and the relaxation of various laws and regulations in an effort to foster
industrial restructuring, he said.

President Ma stated that the government has initiated a major
push in research and development in an effort to increase Taiwan's international
competitiveness. Over the next two years, he said, the government hopes that R&D
spending will rise to 3% of GDP, and that annual growth in R&D expenditures will
reach a target of 8-10%. In addition to promoting Taiwan's six major emerging industries—green
energy, biotechnology, tourism, high-end agriculture, health care, and cultural
& creative industries—the president said that the government is also promoting emerging
knowledge-based industries that are worthy of investment, such as cloud computing,
smart electric vehicles, smart green buildings, and the commercialization of patents.

The president remarked that the government intends to continue
to move in the direction of deregulation and liberalization. He said that agencies
under the Executive Yuan have already completed a critical review of 540 laws and
regulations, and once restrictions have been removed and capital can move more freely,
many Taiwan-invested enterprises in mainland China will be motivated to apply to
list their stock in Taiwan. Meanwhile, in an effort to achieve the goals of "linking
up with the Asia-Pacific region" and "creating a global presence," President Ma
stressed that Taiwan is interested in actively participating in global economic
integration. The signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA)
with mainland China on June 29, he said, was the first step in this effort. He noted
that in the wake of the signing of the ECFA, Taiwan and Singapore on August 5 jointly
announced that the two would be exploring the possibility of negotiating and signing
an economic cooperation agreement, and that talks in this regard are expected to
be held later this year. In the future, the president said, Taiwan will also be
willing to discuss the establishment of closer ties with other nations which are
economically complementary with Taiwan, so as to bring Taiwan more closely in step
with the international community.

President Ma stated that mainland China has been Taiwan's largest
trading partner since 2003. Mainland China accounts for the biggest chunk of Taiwan's
trade surplus, and is the top destination for direct investments from Taiwan. Consequently,
Taiwan can expect to benefit greatly from the signing of the ECFA with mainland
China. Tariffs on 539 products from Taiwan and 267 items from mainland China will
be gradually abolished over a two-year period after the ECFA takes effect on January
1 of next year, he said, adding that he is confident that this development will
stimulate foreign investment in Taiwan. President Ma stressed that Taiwan enjoys
an extremely advantageous geographic location, with the economies of the United
States, mainland China, and Japan all on its periphery. If Taiwan makes the best
use of this edge, improves the domestic investment environment, and stabilizes the
cross-strait relationship, it will undoubtedly become an Asia-Pacific regional economic
and trading hub, a global headquarters for Taiwan companies, and a regional operations
center for foreign firms, the president said.

President Ma stressed that the pace of Taiwan's economic recovery
this year has surpassed expectations. Economic growth in the second quarter hit
12.53%, he said. According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and
Statistics (DGBAS), Taiwan's economic growth rate this year will reach 8.24%, which
is an upward revision of 2.1 percentage points from an original prediction of 6.14%.
However, he noted that the ultimate purpose of economic development is to provide
for the livelihoods and wellbeing of Taiwan's citizens. The DGBAS has announced
statistics of 2009 showing that the income gap between the richest 20% of families
in Taiwan and the poorest 20% has risen to a factor of 6.34, which is the second
highest on record here. However, he said that with the strong economic growth witnessed
in the first half of this year and the continued strong momentum in domestic consumption,
he is confident that the unemployment rate will head lower and that incomes will
rise in the future.

【Source: Office of the President】