The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) is promoting a new “homes for industries, industries for homes” program aimed at mapping out a blueprint for the distribution of Taiwan’s industrial development over the coming decade. Ten seminars have already been held for the first stage of the program, “homes for industries”; the CEPD will collect and sort out the opinions garnered from the seminars, set up a platform for coordination between the central and local governments, and facilitate the formation of a consensus on regional industrial development to serve as a basis for policy formulation.
Premier Wu Den-yih noted in the summing-up meeting that promoting “homes for industries, industries for homes” can assist the central and local governments in establishing partnership and pragmatically planning regional industrial development direction. And he expressed the hope that each county and city will bring into play their respective advantages and find its key industry to reach the goal of increasing economic growth rate, reducing unemployment rate and shortening the gap between urban and rural areas. He also proposed that industrial development should focus on the three aims of “strengthening Taiwan, connecting with the Asia-Pacific region, and positioning globally,” and encouraged cities and counties to start from strengthening themselves, and map out new directions for industrial and economic development, giving due consideration to the current state of industrial development, not neglecting existing traditional basic industries, and with careful assessment of climatic, manpower, environmental, and other relevant conditions.
The prime objective of “homes for industries, industries for homes,” says CEPD Minister Dr Christina Liu, is to stimulate local employment and keep talents at home. Local governments should carefully assess their developmental conditions and local advantages, and cooperate with other county and city governments in setting up joint regional brands and distribution channels. In the future, she comments, inter-regional cooperation should be aimed at expanding production and market scale, and should not be limited to administrative districts. Dr Liu encourages local areas to work together or form inter-regional cross-industry alliances.
Urban renewal, for instance, can be integrated with green building to develop green-energy industries, and integration of the tourism, cuisine, and international medical care industries can be used in the joint marketing abroad. Representatives from industries and scholars attending the meeting also presented various proposals, including strengthening the infrastructure in line with the development of tourism, cultural and creative industries; promoting the bi-lingual education industry, encouraging the establishment of private international bi-lingual boarding schools while drawing on the advanced resources of local universities; and expanding tourist markets by combining holidays and festivals or international events in joint marketing efforts.
The 10 first-stage seminars indicated that most of the participating county and city governments are striving for the development of high-value, low-pollution industries, and that there is a high degree of overlap in such types of industries. However, since development conditions vary from region to region, this will need to be reflected in the particularities of the industries developed in each region in the future. An important issue for the government in the future, therefore, will be how to achieve a proper division of labor and how to effect the most appropriate industrial deployment.
The local governments will follow up by looking at their own basic conditions and then prioritizing industries for development. At the central government level, the ministries will prioritize regions for the development of industries under their administration. The central and local governments will continue their discussions from April through July, and will pair regions and industries; and then, together, they will decide on the core industries for each region.
Dr Liu expresses the hope that the series of “homes for industries, industries for homes” seminars would pinpoint the most suitable regions for the development of emerging industries, and would help determine how to bring about industrial integration to achieve value-added and cluster effects. This will enable the government, in future investment promotion efforts, to recommend specific areas in Taiwan that are suitable for foreign direct investment.