September 27, 2017 / 6:12 AM / 2 years ago

Taiwan premier announces plans to remove investment obstacles

FILE PHOTO: Taiwanese new premier William Lai speaks during a cabinet transition ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan September 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan Premier William Lai announced plans on Wednesday to eliminate investment obstacles, including tackling the slow completion rate of public construction projects.

Lai, who attended a meeting attended by the heads of some state-owned companies, said investment momentum on the island had been unsatisfactory.

“Since 2000, investment has decreased. Last year, Taiwan’s total investment stood at only around 20.9 percent of GDP. This is big damage for Taiwan’s overall economic growth,” Lai told reporters.

The government’s rate for completing public construction projects on time had only been around 80 percent. This meant an annual T$50 billion ($1.65 billion) or more worth of projects was being held up, he said.

One such high-profile project was a rail link between the airport and downtown Taipei which was delayed for years but is now complete.

Lai said state-owned companies had long-term plans for expansion, and that he hoped these companies would make active investments.

He praised business leaders such as TSMC’s Morris Chang for pledging to invest in Taiwan in the future.

Lai made his first appearance in the legislative yuan this week since taking office this month and mapped out his cabinet’s plan to boost growth.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu and Jeanny Kao; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Nick Macfie

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