Between 1953 and 2016, the Taiwan government implemented 16 medium-term national development plans. These plans served as policy blueprints to address the developmental needs of the day, promote effective resource utilization, and support sustainable prosperity.
The 17th national development plan (2017-2020) was launched this year, along with a single-year plan for 2017. Both plans reflect the president's core ideals—innovation, employment and equitable distribution—and the premier's administrative policy guidelines. They also set developmental objectives, strategies and policy priorities for the year 2017 and the next four years, giving due consideration to current conditions at home and abroad, and providing the policy foundation on which private enterprises and government agencies can build a new economic model for sustainable development.
These plans also outline a developmental vision that will create a new economic model, weave a comprehensive social safety net, preserve social equality and justice, promote regional peace, and help Taiwan become a model citizen in global civil society.
II. National development strategies and economic objectives
A. National development strategies
For the next four years, economic stimulus will be the most important national development task. The government will employ public policy and public investment to create new momentum, and reshape a completely new, more dynamic and resilient economic structure.
Expanding the social safety net, upholding social justice, and maintaining peace and stability are also key developmental strategies to ensure social equality and environmental viability, and lay a lasting foundation for Taiwan's peaceful development.
The government will also increase domestic investment and institute structural reforms over the next four years, creating a new economic model to resolve long-standing problems including low business profits, stagnating wages, and companies migrating abroad.
B. Overall economic targets for 2017-2020
After weighing forecasts by international organizations and assessing risks associated with the global economy and the impact of proactive policy measures, the government has set the following macroeconomic targets:
1. 2017 targets:
Overall economic growth between 2.0 and 2.5 percent; gross domestic product (GDP) per capita between US$23,100 and US$23,300; consumer price index (CPI) increase of 2 percent or less; a labor participation rate between 58.81 and 58.93 percent; increase the employment rate by 0.54 to 0.75 percent and maintain the unemployment rate between 3.90 and 3.93 percent.
2. Target averages for 2017-2020:
Economic growth rate between 2.5 and 3.0 percent; GDP per capita between US$25,000 and US$26,000; CPI increase of less than 2 percent; a labor participation rate between 58.89 and 59.20 percent; increase in employment rate between 0.48 and 0.72 percent, and an unemployment rate between 3.75 and 3.82 percent.
III. Six core policies
The president's core ideals and blueprint for the next four years will be implemented through a comprehensive policy package focusing on six main areas: the economy, social affairs, the environment, effective government, education, culture and ethnic issues, national security, and external relations.
A. Industrial upgrading and an innovative economy
Innovation is the main driver behind Taiwan's economic growth and a key to industrial transformation and upgrading. The government will therefore encourage economic innovation over the next four years, developing an ecosystem for industrial innovation by promoting technological innovation, providing funding assistance, personnel support and easing regulations. The "five plus two" innovative industries (an Asian Silicon Valley, intelligent machinery, green energy technology, biomedicine, national defense, new agriculture and the circular economy) will also be promoted to link resources across disciplines and add greater value to all industry sectors.
To harness the opportunities of the digital era, the government will build a digital nation and develop an innovative economy that taps into the broader digital economy to bring technological innovations to the service sector.
The government will also help shape next-generation industries by encouraging technological innovations in the chip design and semiconductor industries, cultural and creative sectors, lifestyle industries (such as tourism and recreation, home reconstruction, and disaster prevention technologies), and fields with high growth potential (such as gaming).
B. A secure and just society
To create a secure living environment and a just society, the government will implement five major social stability programs as well as measures to improve overall well-being:
1. Safe residential environment:
Promote a social housing policy and urban renewal projects.
2. Food safety management:
Implement a five-point food safety reform program to ensure consumer confidence.
3. Long-term care:
Promote the "10-year long-term care 2.0" plan and active aging programs to create a senior-friendly environment.
4. Pension reform:
Create a sustainable pension system that guarantees economic security for seniors.
5. Secure society:
Build a comprehensive social safety net and increase assistance for disadvantaged groups. Maintain public order and crack down on illegal drugs and fraud operations.
6. Citizen well-being:
Create an environment that promotes health and fitness, and programs to help the young, middle-aged and women find work, and improve childhood education and care. Promote social harmony and reconciliation, and pursue transitional justice.
C. Regional balance and a sustainable environment
1. Spatial planning:
Make forward-thinking plans for the nation's land and water resources, improve the nation's regulatory system for spatial planning, and restore environmentally sensitive and damaged areas.
2. Balanced regional development:
Improve infrastructure in Hualien, Taitung and the offshore islands while developing the maritime economy. Strengthen joint regional governance mechanisms and promote regional integration and resource allocation.
3. Convenient transportation:
Upgrade land, sea and air infrastructure, facilitate transport networks, and balance development between different regions.
4. Environmental sustainability:
Develop renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power, and step up energy conservation and greenhouse gas management at government agencies. Protect and restore marine resources, control air pollution, and develop and conserve water resources.
D. Effective government and fiscal soundness
To improve overall government effectiveness, agencies will improve administrative efficiency, simplify oversight and evaluation procedures, expand the benefits of public infrastructure, and provide digital government services.
To improve fiscal effectiveness and discipline, the government will also make dynamic adjustments to financial policies and methods, find new revenue sources and reduce expenditures, manage debt more closely, and exercise stronger fiscal controls over local governments while promoting fiscal health on the national level. This dual strategy of effective government and fiscal soundness will support steady and efficient implementation for all reform efforts.
E. Education, culture and ethnic diversity
Promote the transformation of higher education while guaranteeing quality and quantity, reform technical and vocational education to bridge the industry-academia gap, and improve the 12-year fundamental education system to strengthen the foundations of higher and vocational education. Promote digital learning and facilitate access to educational resources. Set up savings accounts for children from disadvantaged families to help remove financial barriers to education.
Nurture the nation's cultural strengths and create a public management mechanism for cultural affairs. Restore cultural assets to recreate the public's historical memory, and develop the cultural economy while adding greater value to cultural industries.
3. Ethnic diversity:
Promote a cultural renaissance of Taiwan's ethnic groups. Reinforce social support networks, promote ethnic rights, and encourage social participation so that all the people of Taiwan, from all backgrounds, can coexist in peace and prosperity.
F. National security and external relations
1. National defense:
Enhance armed forces combat capabilities and expand regional military cooperation. Develop autonomous defense capabilities, strengthen protection of citizens, and build elite defense troops.
2. International participation:
Uphold the principles of steadfast diplomacy, mutual benefit and mutual assistance, and promote substantive relations with political allies and like-minded countries such as the U.S., Japan and the European Union. Seek pragmatic participation in intergovernmental organizations, and help domestic nongovernmental organizations take part in international affairs. Continue seeking integration into the regional economy, expand Taiwan's participation in international organizations, enhance bilateral ties with trade partners, and diversify export markets and products.
3. Cross-strait peace and stability:
Foster positive interaction and dialogue with China, deepen cultural and educational exchanges, and share Taiwan's values. Promote steady cross-strait economic and trade exchanges, review regulations governing such exchanges, establish comprehensive regulations on exchanges with Hong Kong and Macau, and enhance substantive relations to maintain stable cross-strait ties.
4. New Southbound Policy:
Implement the New Southbound Policy, encourage people-to-people exchanges in all domains, and collaborate with target countries to foster regional prosperity and growth.
Taiwan faces numerous challenges at home and abroad, including rising anti-globalization sentiment, world economic disorder and realignment, insufficient domestic investment, an aging population, and a social safety net that needs to be overhauled. Over the next four years, the government will therefore vigorously promote massive structural reforms to boost the domestic economy, ensure social justice and security, and maintain peace and stability to create a better tomorrow.