At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang said the government is committed to helping the local machine tool industry weather the impacts of the trade war between the U.S. and China. Strategies include providing financing assistance, boosting orders, and transforming the industry's talent base, all of which are intended to ensure the industry's sustainable growth and turn the crisis into an opportunity.
Machine tools, the foundation of Taiwan's manufacturing sector, are a vital industry with entirely indigenously developed technologies. Taiwan now boasts the fourth largest share of the world's machine tool market, the premier pointed out.
Under the financing assistance strategy, the government already provides tax credits through the Statute for Industrial Innovation to companies that invest in smart machinery. The premier also asked the Ministry of Economic Affairs to continue providing preferential interest rates and loan fee discounts or waivers to companies applying for new investment loans. A debt coordination mechanism is being set up as well.
Efforts to boost orders will focus on spurring domestic demand and expanding international sales, Premier Su said. Domestic demand will be driven not just by investment from Taiwanese businesses based in China and the renovation of aging government facilities, but also through key policies and public projects such as 5G applications, medical technology, aerospace technologies and forward-looking infrastructure. The resulting growth in machine tool demand will create business opportunities worth an estimated NT$22.7 billion (US$738.9 million).
To expand international sales, the government will undertake such endeavors as establishing a Taiwanese machinery buyers alliance, setting up additional business centers to open export channels, and moving secondary production bases to New Southbound Policy countries. Also included are expanded efforts to bring foreign purchasers to Taiwan, and an international sales and trade plan to introduce machine tools and components into global markets.
As for transformation of the industry's talent base, the premier said that relevant ministries and agencies will take the initiative to offer training subsidies, encourage on-the-job training, establish a research and development program, and cultivate new talent.