President Tsai Ing-wen met with Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat on the morning of September 12. The president stated that the government is dedicated to building a finance-friendly environment, and hopes to use Taiwan's financial power to spur industrial transformation, and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and innovative development in our designated "5+2 industries."
President Tsai opened her remarks by welcoming Mr. Corbat back to Taiwan, and mentioned that he has visited Taiwan many times, which shows that Citigroup considers Taiwan an important financial market.
The president pointed out that Citigroup established a branch bank in Taiwan back in 1965, and has been serving and developing the domestic market for over half a century. In addition to providing comprehensive financial services, the Citigroup has also been dedicated to serving the community. She then expressed her thanks and appreciation to Citigroup for its long-term commitment to developing business in Taiwan.
Since taking office, President Tsai stated, her administration's most important goal has been to create a stable macroeconomic environment to attract foreign companies, and give all economic activities the kind of foundation they need to thrive. Over the past two years, she said, the Taiwan economy has shown steady growth, and the unemployment rate was also the lowest it's been in over a decade.
The president mentioned that since the global financial crisis of 2008, countries around the world have continued to put their financial institutions on stronger financial footing. Taiwan is also complying with international financial regulations to promote prudent financial system supervision. And as a result, Taiwan's current non-performing loan ratio is only 0.28%.
President Tsai further explained that transaction volumes and share prices in Taiwan's capital markets have also been outstanding. The TAIEX average daily trading volume recently hit US$6 billion, a 31.1% increase over last year. The Taiwan Stock Exchange weighted index also broke the 10,000-point barrier in May 2017, and has maintained that level.
The president emphasized that the government has been working to adjust outdated laws and regulations so that appropriate deregulation will also improve financial system stability and efficiency. So far, she said, we have adjusted 63 finance-related regulations.
This past June, President Tsai said, the government formally launched a Financial Development Action Plan to make Taiwan a forward-looking, internationally competitive financial market. In the banking sector, we want to expand the scale of our financial institutions and increase incentives for consolidation to make Taiwan an international wealth management platform. We also want to use our financial power to spur industrial transformation, and support SMEs and innovative development in our designated "5+2 industries."
The president stated that the government will develop new types of financial products designed to meet the needs of special consumer sectors and society as a whole. To address our aging society, for example, we plan to develop insurance policies that provide coverage for long-term care. In terms of the FinTech development, our Financial Technology Development and Innovative Experimentation Act promulgated this past January is also the world's first law governing "regulatory sandboxes."
In closing, President Tsai stated that building a finance-friendly environment has always been our most important goal, and we will continue our efforts to provide a high-quality business climate for the development of foreign banks. We look forward, she said, to Citigroup investing more financial resources in Taiwan for personnel training and innovative technologies for financial products so that Citigroup and Taiwan's financial markets can achieve stable development together.