Taipei, May 21 (CNA) The Ministry of Economic Affairs launched an export-boosting project Monday with the aim of countering the country's negative export growth during the first four months of this year.
The project will encompass 45 measures under six categories and will include expanding financial support for local small and medium-sized businesses, inviting more foreign buyers to visit Taiwan, promoting Taiwanese products and holding online procurement meetings, Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang told a press briefing.
The ministry is planning to use the project -- which carries a price tag of NT$3.16 billion (US$106.87 million) -- to create business opportunities worth US$2.12 billion for the whole year, he added.
In addition to current major export markets such as China, the United States and Europe, the ministry will also focus on other emerging and potential markets, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Middle East and the Balkans.
The ministry has already set up a monthly monitoring mechanism to keep a close eye on exports to major markets. Should exports of a particular item fall below 80 percent of the target goal, the ministry, in collaboration with other relevant authorities, will come up with solutions to tackle the decline.
According to the ministry, the target goal for total exports in 2012 is an annual growth rate of 8 percent, representing nearly US$333 billion. The total value of Taiwan's exports last year stood at US$308.3 billion, up 12.3 percentage points from a year earlier, ministry tallies show.
Given the fact that the country's exports in the first four months of the year fell 4.7 percent from the same period of last year to US$96.37 billion, the minister said it will be difficult, but still possible, to reach the goal.
"We do not have the right to be pessimistic," he said, adding that exports generally grow faster in the second half of the year.
(By James Lee)