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Taiwan Competitiveness Forum 2008

The Taiwan Competitiveness Forum was held on June 16 and 17 at Howard International House in Taipei, under joint sponsorship of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER), and the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER).

The Taiwan Competitiveness Forum gathered over 100 public, private, and academic sector representatives together for a series of twelve sector-specific roundtable sessions. The sessions were designed to give participants the chance to express informal, personal views on strategies for improving Taiwan’s competitiveness in ways that would most benefit Taiwan and its economic partners. The sponsors believe the Forum was useful in fostering an ongoing policy dialogue that they hope will bear fruit in developing a more vibrant Taiwan economy of benefit to all.

In the opening remarks of the Forum, Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Chairman Morris Chang; Charles Kao, the founder and CEO of Commonwealth Publishing Group; and Paul A. London, former Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, all discussed elements of competitiveness and their beneficial effects on economic growth.

“The forum was an excellent opportunity to bring together local and foreign business people, public sector officials, and scholars for some brainstorming about the various challenges facing Taiwan’s economic prospects,” said Don Shapiro, Interim Managing Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei. “The Chamber members who participated found it extremely worthwhile. We hope the discussion will stimulate further dialogue and contribute to the development of new and creative thinking that will help boost Taiwan’s business competitiveness and raise per-capita income.”

CEPD Chairman Chen Tain-Jy presided over the reports from the sector-specific roundtable sessions on the last day of the Forum and listened to the session reports presented by 12 moderators. Economics professor of Shih Hsin University, Dr. Shive Chi, who gave the closing remarks for the forum, praised the forum for producing fruitful results and recommended that the sponsors hold such a forum regularly. Citing Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Dr. Shive pointed out that the development of a nation would eventually be limited by laws and institution; and he recognized Chairman Chen's efforts to establish a task force focusing on regulatory reform and internationalized projects. Dr. Shive also anticipated that CEPD could play a role as the "soft power" among Taiwan's public sector organizations.

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