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Investment programs attract funds to drive industry upgrades

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Premier Su Tseng-chang on Thursday touted three major investment programs designed to attract capital from not only overseas Taiwanese businesses but also domestic corporations that have never invested in China, as well as locally based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The premier said that the three programs and related measures will produce a more robust domestic supply chain for domestic industry. In combination with Taiwan's edge in high-level human resources, the investment inflows will transform the nation into an Asian center for advanced manufacturing, high-tech research and development, cutting-edge semiconductor production, and green energy development. This transformation will form a strong foundation for the next three decades of economic development in Taiwan.

Premier Su's remarks came after a presentation at the weekly Cabinet meeting by the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the implementation status of the three investment programs.

The government has made a number of moves throughout 2019 designed to assist enterprises upgrade, the premier said. An initial action plan to attract Taiwanese businesses in China to invest back at home launched in January, augmented in July by an increase in the plan's total funding for loans from NT$20 billion (US$661.5 million) to NT$500 billion (US$16.5 billion). At the same time, investment programs aimed at locally based SMEs and domestic corporations with no history of business activity in China were also initiated. August then saw the Legislature pass the Management, Utilization, and Taxation of Repatriated Offshore Funds Act, a law designed to encourage the return of offshore capital. This was followed in November by an action plan to accelerate SME investment by raising the amount of available loans from NT$20 billion (US$661.5 million) to NT$100 billion (US$3.3 billion).

Since the launch of the three investment programs, nearly 280 businesses have been approved to invest a total of over NT$830 billion (US$27.5 billion), which will create almost 68,000 jobs. By the end of 2019, over NT$230 billion (US$7.6 billion) of the total is expected to be committed to active projects.

The overall health of the economy is looking up as the government continues to strengthen infrastructure and the investment environment, the premier said. In September, for instance, Taiwan ranked fourth globally as an investment destination and second-best in Asia (behind only Singapore) in an investment environment risk assessment published by U.S.-based Business Environment Risk Intelligence S.A.

Domestic companies aren't the only ones stepping up investment in Taiwan, Premier Su continued. Over the first 10 months of 2019, Taiwanese businesses abroad were approved to invest US$9.8 billion, a 23-percent increase over the same period last year, while Taiwan's investments in China dropped by a hefty 54 percent to US$3.2 billion. With inbound investment outpacing outbound, these figures send a signal of growing business confidence in Taiwan.

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