Taichung Mayor Lin Chia-lung was invited to the “Conference on the Priorities and Prospective Policies of the Tsai Ing-wen Administration” in National Tsing Hua University today (17th) and made a speech titled “Breakthrough, Rise and Lighten Taiwan.” He thinks that the new government is facing 3 major challenges, including economic restructure, aging population & low fertility, and China issue. The new government must differentiate itself from the Ma administration while rapidly and effectively respond to public opinion. Facing the trials of international relation, Taiwan needs USA and Japan to support us in participating in international affairs. In addition, in coordination with the economic development and social stability plans proposed by the new administration, the Taichung City Government has responsive policies and expects to implement them jointly with the central government.
As May 20th approaches, Tsai Ing-wen, the first female president of Taiwan, will be sworn in and the challenges that face Democratic Progressive Party that holds both the executive branch also a majority in the Legislative Yuan are about to begin. Mayor Lin quoted The Economist saying that “…her new administration will have no honeymoon.” After the new administration is inaugurated in May 20th, they have to respond to public opinion immediately and take instant and effective actions, including breaking through the economic and diplomatic predicaments Taiwan is facing, proposing effective countermeasures in dealing with low fertility and an ageing population, and demonstrate governance capacity to live up to the people’s expectations.
Mayor Lin stated that the new administration is faced with three major issues: promoting economic restructuring, dealing with ageing population & low fertility, and coping with a powerful China. The Taiwan’s exports have suffered 15 consecutive months of negative growth. Taiwan’s economic predicament is due to the lack of versatility in Taiwan’s industries and being overly connected with the “red supply chain.” The solutions to these predicaments are to develop a more versatile industry structure and participate in regional economic integration.
Also, the ageing population and low fertility issues of Taiwan are considered a national security issue. Mayor Lin stated that young people are worried that they cannot afford to raise children and are reluctant to give birth. In addition, taking the issue of ageing populations into consideration, it means that young couples have to take care of the young and the old at the same time, denying them the feeling of having a future. These are complicated issues that the new administration has to deal with.
The third challenge is the issue of China. Mayor Lin stated that cross-strait relations may change after the new administration is inaugurated. The new administration should maintain cross-strait relations by using management measures to stabilize Taiwan’s internal affairs and diplomacy. Due to political factors and Taiwan’s economic dependency on China, the new administration should be more aggressive in joining TPP and implementing “New Southbound Policy.”
Mayor Lin stated that the reason the Ma administration disappointed many people was that many of its policies in his second term failed to be realized, thus losing the people’s support due to economic recession, decrease of real wages, price inflation, and lesser employment opportunities. The new administration should take warnings from it to aggressively respond to the people’s needs and lead the people to move away from the predicaments of poor economic growth and unequal distribution. Although the overall circumstances are not good, the situation shall not continue to deteriorate. As for political issues, the status quo should be maintained, meaning that Taiwan should not avoid having contacts with Mainland China, nor being too dependent with it.
To break through the current economic predicament of Taiwan, Mayor Lin believed that Taiwan has to become a “strong manufacturing nation” outside of China. The new administration has elaborated the “Research and Development Plan in Five Innovative Industries,” including green energy, “Asian Silicon Valley,” biotechnology and medicine, smart machinery, and national defense. Taichung City Government has also stipulated related policies and can coordinated closely with the central government.
Mayor Lin said that the world will enter a co-opetition relation with regional economy as its axis and Taichung can perform the role of innovate R&D well. With the planning capacity of the central government, the implementation capacity of local governments and the resource integration among local governments, together they can promote Taiwan into a “strong manufacturing nation.”