At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a report on the nation's 2020 economic outlook from the National Development Council (NDC). Despite the challenges facing Taiwan this coming year, including the escalating impact of the Wuhan coronavirus as well as economic risks from international trade disputes and geopolitics, the nation's economy looks set to continue growing on the back of domestic demand, the premier said.
Government agencies should stay on top of the virus outbreak and other international trends, and seek opportunities amid possible impacts on Taiwan's industries. The premier directed agencies to take advantage of shifts in the global supply chain to bring back high-end manufacturing industries and investment dollars in order to make Taiwan an advanced manufacturing and R&D center for Asia.
Domestically, the administration has been pushing economic transformation and innovation for several years now, making the investment climate more attractive while raising salaries and cutting taxes for workers. Forward-looking infrastructure projects have also helped stimulate investment and expand domestic demand. On the international front, by taking stock of the situation and making the best of new opportunities, the government has been able to lift Taiwan out of the economic stagnation of the past. Companies, economic scholars and international forecasters share expectations that Taiwan's economy will continue to climb at an accelerated clip.
On January 21 the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) announced that Taiwan's economy advanced by 3.38 percent in the final quarter of 2019, marking four consecutive quarters of growth and setting the fastest pace in six quarters; the growth rate for all of 2019 was also revised upward to 2.73 percent, the highest among the Four Asian Tigers. Furthermore, the DGBAS predicted that Taiwan's economy will maintain a growth rate of 2.72 percent this year, the premier said.
The NDC said that while global economic momentum looks to remain weak in 2020, Taiwan's economy is expected to strengthen, driven by domestic demand. Several major institutions have also revised Taiwan's 2020 growth forecast upward to between 2.36 and 2.72 percent as part of a continued mild expansion. These expectations demonstrate that the administration's efforts over the past four years to transform the economy and focus on a domestic demand-driven growth model have gradually paid off, even in the headwinds of a difficult global economy.