March 15, 2016 – Taiwan president-elect Tsai Ing-Wen named former Finance Minister Lin Chuan premier today, a move that suggests one of Tsai’s top priorities is the economy.
Lin was finance minister from 2002-2006, before which he served as head of the directorate-general of budget, accounting and statistics. The 64-year-old was a close aide to Tsai during her presidential campaign.
Tsai described Lin as a capable politician who is good at communicating and problem-solving.
“In the past, I’ve teamed up with Lin Chuan and found that we work with good chemistry. He has the ability to communicate. He is the one who is most familiar with my governance roadmap. His performance in the past government was also highly appreciated by the society,” she said.
Tsai added that that Lin’s appointment not only showcases her determination to turn around the island’s poor economy, but also her future focus as a reform-minded government.
“Taiwan’s economy has been hit by global economic weakness, particularly China and the US markets,” said John Chiu, chief investment officer of Fuh Hwa Securities Investment Trust Co. “Lin as a premier should be positive for Taiwan. At least he is someone who understands the economy.”
Taiwan will struggle to reach its growth forecast this year, the central bank governor said recently, comments that point to the possibility of an interest rate cut later this month.
Tsai was elected in January at a tricky time for Taiwan’s export-dependent economy, which barely emerged from recession in the fourth quarter. China, with which the independence-leaning DPP has an uneasy relationship, is Taiwan’s top trading partner and Taiwan’s favourite investment destination.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.