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President Chen Attends the Sixth Meeting of the Cabinet's Financial and Economic Task Force

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian said Saturday his administration will not raise tax rates during his four-year tenure and will review the existing taxation system with an aim to boost economic development and increase government tax revenues.


This was one of the "five guarantees" offered by President Chen in his speech delivered at an expanded meeting of the Cabinet's financial and economic task force.


In his speech, Chen also promised to provide a stable investment environment for local industries. "To ensure continued industrial development and sustain economic prosperity, the new government will do its utmost to create a profitable business climate with adequate capital, manpower, water, electricity and land supplies," he explained.


Meanwhile, Chen said the government will streamline law enforcement to wipe out irrational protests and ensure smooth proceeding of legally approved investment and factory construction projects.


The president further pledged to upgrade administrative efficiency to meet the demand of the industrial sector. Chen said he has directed the Executive Yuan or the Cabinet to unveil a package of measures within one month for establishing one-stop service counters for new corporate registration, application for setting up plants in industrial parks and environmental impact evaluation.


Chen also pitched for an end to inter-party rivalry, saying that a war of attrition among major domestic political parties would only undermine Taiwan's capability to cope with severe challenges in the increasingly competitive global market.


"If the long feuding North and South Korea can move toward reconciliation, I see no reason for continued squabbles among our domestic parties," Chen said, adding that if all major local parties can move toward reconciliation and cooperation, its value will be no less than what a Nobel Peace Prize can offer to the people of Taiwan.


In his speech, Chen cited official tallies to prove that Taiwan's economic fundamentals remain healthy and robust. For instance, Chen said, Taiwan's exports registered a remarkable 24 percent growth in the first eight months as compared with the year-earlier level and industrial production also grew 9 percent during the same period.


Noting that Taiwan's current economic boom shows no signs of slowdown, Chen said he feels regret that there is a wide gap between the island's economic fundamentals and the performance of its financial sector.


Chen said he and his new government team will work hard to resolve present financial and economic problems and revive the business sector and general public's confidence in his administration.


Touching on the controversies surrounding the fourth nuclear power plant and Meinung dam projects, Chen said the government will work out long-term plans to ensure adequate water and electricity supplies over the decades to come. "I hope local people will have full confidence in the government's determination to realize this goal."


This was the first time that the Cabinet financial task force has met at the Presidential Office. In addition to the nine members of the task force, heads of the island's four largest trade and industry associations also attended the meeting to present their views on resolving current domestic economic and financial problems, including ways to prop up the sagging stock market.


Chen said he hopes the expanded Cabinet financial task force meeting can provide a forum for the industry sector to strengthen communication with his new administrative team.

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