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Six shortfalls in Taiwan's business sector: business group leader

2015/12/22 19:27:09

Chinese National Federation of Industries Chairman Rock Hsu (second right) and DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (center).

Taipei, Dec. 22 (CNA) Water, electricity, workforce, land, talent, and ethics are all areas in which Taiwan's business sector is lacking, Chinese National Federation of Industries Chairman Rock Hsu (許勝雄) said Tuesday.

For Taiwan to be able to surmount its economic predicament, the country should first resolve these problems, Hsu said in an address to the Taiwan Economic Development Forum, which was held by seven local major tradel and business groups for dialogues with the three pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

In his opening speech, Hsu said Taiwan's current economic situation is of great concern to local enterprises, with statistics showing that exports have dipped for 10 months in a row since February this year, with a 16.9 percent drop in November the largest decline in nearly six years.

The fact that the country is under pressure to maintain the gross domestic product growth for this year at 1 percent at least, has sunk the business sector into pessimism toward the economic future, Hsu said.

"The shortage of water, electricity, workers, land and talent has caused the overall investment environment to deteriorate rapidly," Hsu said.

Furthermore, there is no mutual respect or tolerance in society, he added, noting that unhealthy party politics and a toxic social atmosphere has led Taiwan into the predicament of facing a shortage of ethics.

Because of the shortage of ethics, there have been inadequate rational policy debates and mutually tolerant and comprehensive dialogues among the ruling and opposition parties on issues concerning national development, cross-strait relations, and other items related to energy resources and environmental protection, which are vital for the country's social and economic development, Hsu said.

In society, he went on, rising unemployment, real estate price surges and an increasing gap between the rich and the poor have ignited confrontation, hatred and exploitation.

All the policies in favor of certain conglomerates and profit-making groups, regardless of their contributions to industrial development, are geared toward allowing businesses to make profit.

"Under this faulty premise and social climate, the atmosphere of confrontation has become ever stronger, causing businesses to put a hold on investment plans," Hsu said.

The presidential tickets of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the People First Party (PFP) were invited to answer questions by the forum organizers on issues of concern ranging from the regional economy, cross-Taiwan Strait relations, and energy resources, to wages and innovation.

DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen was the first of the three presidential tickets to attend the forum Tuesday, which will also take place Dec. 23 and Dec. 29, respectively, for the other two pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

The questions brought up in the forum include what concrete and efficient measures will each candidate put forth to resolve the challenging problem of power shortages, if elected; how to maintain the country's competitiveness while adopting international regulations on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions; and how to provide the manpower required for enterprise sustainability.

Other questions are aimed at how to lower labor costs, maintain cross-strait peace, assist young people to create startups and resolve the longterm problem of malicious political struggle between the country's various parties and factions.

(By Chen Cheng-wei and Elizabeth Hsu)
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