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Premier Su pledges to support Taiwan's craft development

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At a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a Ministry of Culture briefing on the status and development of Taiwan's craft culture industry. Taiwan boasts rich and diverse crafts that employ a wide range of materials and techniques. An important cultural heritage industry, crafts combine the unique customs of various places and reflect the history of local culture. The government will support the development of Taiwan's craft culture industry from the three aspects of talent, rewards and industry, the premier pledged.

Talent is one of the key factors behind Taiwan's economic miracle despite the country's small population and land area, Premier Su continued. With more than half of Taiwan's crafts worker population aged 50 and over, the nation faces a looming crisis in the passage of the industry's heritage to future generations. It is therefore mission critical to come up with a systematic, comprehensive talent cultivation program to train and attract as many people as possible to the field and allow the crafts industry to be seen and valued by the whole of society.

Regarding rewards, the Culture and the Arts Reward and Promotion Act amended in May stipulates that funding of no less than 1 percent of the cost for the construction of a public building or major construction project shall be devoted to public art. The Ministry of Culture is also amending other regulations requiring that at least one-fourth of the funds of a special account for public art to be established by the central government should be prioritized for traditional craft arts. These efforts create a regulatory framework to provide more space to showcase craft work, raise the visibility of art work, and allow more craft makers to receive systematic support.

As for industry, the government will help ensure sufficient supplies of raw materials required for making crafts. Sap from the lacquer tree, for instance, is raw material for lacquer art, but Taiwan's low lacquer tree production volume means it is reliant on imports and must therefore plant more lacquer trees in the future. Another example is bamboo, the raw material for bamboo crafts. The government will create a complete industrial chain—from cultivation of bamboo trees, to production and processing, to R&D and sales—to promote the development of bamboo-based craft and public art. Further efforts will also be made to develop bamboo into construction material, Premier Su said.

Marketing and promotion are also very important for the public to see and recognize fine artwork. The government will work from all aspects to expand public art to traditional arts and crafts, and bring crafts into households and people's lives to promote a wider appreciation for craft work, the premier said.

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