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Taipei Times – Annual GDP growth set to top 1.8 percent: NDC

BULLISH: The NDC minister attributed the optimistic projection to 3.33% GDP growth in the third quarter and the ‘better-than-estimated’ performance of exports.

The National Development Council (NDC) has forecast that annual GDP growth would be more than 1.8 percent this year, thanks to better-than-expected export orders in the fourth quarter.

The forecast is higher than the 1.56 percent estimate by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, NDC Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) told reporters before attending a meeting of the Economics Committee at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Kung attributed the optimistic projection to 3.33 percent GDP growth in the third quarter and what he described as the “better-than-estimated” performance of exports and export orders so far this quarter.

Asked if GDP growth this year could surpass 2 percent, Kung said only that the government is continuing its efforts to boost the economy.

Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely impacted economic activity worldwide, Taiwan has so far managed to sustain its economic growth.

On Nov. 3, the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院) increased its forecast for GDP growth this year by 0.80 percentage points to 1.91 percent.

Ministry of Economic Affairs data show that Taiwan received US$363.74 billion of export orders in the first three quarters of the year, up US$14.78 billion, or 4.2 percent, from the same period last year.

Export orders totaled US$141.08 billion in the third quarter, up US$22.66 billion, or 19.1 percent, from the previous quarter and up US$14.98 billion, or 11.9 percent, from the same period last year, the data showed.

The ministry has forecast that exports this year would grow more than 4.8 percent year-on-year after reporting US$51.59 billion of exports last month, up 3.1 percent month-on-month and 9.1 percent year-on-year.

Kung said that the impact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional free-trade pact that excludes Taiwan, would not be as great as originally anticipated in the short term, because a limited number of products are to be added to the list of tariff-free items.

Some sensitive industries are excluded from the list and there is a long tariff-reductions process under the RCEP, he said.

This gives the government time to help old economy industries upgrade and transform so they are better able to withstand the impact, he added.

The China-led RCEP, made up of 10 Southeast Asian nations, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, is the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly one-third of the global economy.

Content Credit: Taipei Times