Ma Ying-jeou: Taking Strong Action to Redirect Our Future

Vice President Wu, Presidents of the Five Yuan, Presidential Advisors, Senior Officials, Honored Guests, Fellow Countrymen, and Overseas Compatriots: Happy New Year to you all!

I. Meeting challenges head-on

Today marks the beginning of the 102nd year since the Republic of China’s founding. Looking back on 2012, a sluggish global economy posed serious challenges. I want to say to everyone: Thank you for toughing it out! It is your efforts that have gotten us through this difficult year. The global economy is now beginning to show the first signs of a recovery. In the year ahead, Taiwan’s economy will definitely perform better than last year. And now that the economy is recovering, it is all the more incumbent upon us to make the most of this opportunity to speed reforms. We must take strong measures to meet four very difficult challenges, which I intend to describe in this address.

The first challenge we face is that global industrial competition is growing more intense. In the past, our high-tech sector focused on electronics and information and communications technology products, and was dependent upon expensive foreign patent licenses for key technologies. Even so, we built a highly efficient OEM system made successful by excellent quality control and cost control measures, and became an important link in the global supply chain. But the vicissitudes of the global economic climate have generated increasingly fierce international competition in the industrial sector. Taiwan’s OEM model is now faced with serious difficulty.

The second challenge is the accelerating formation of a regional free-trade bloc. Talks on the ASEAN-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will begin early this year. The plan is to create the largest free-trade bloc in the world, covering a region that is home to more than three billion people and accounts for more than a quarter of global GDP. In addition, mainland China, Japan, and South Korea will hold formal talks on the East Asia Free Trade Area in March or April of this year. The United States, meanwhile, is actively promoting the more exclusive Trans-Pacific Partnership. Our ability to take part in the process of economic integration will be a key determinant of whether Taiwan can expand its economic and trade presence.

The third challenge is the clear mismatch between how we are training students and what industry is actually calling for. For a long time now, our universities have developed rapidly without achieving the close linkage that should exist between academia and the work world. This needs to change. On the one hand, the mismatch has made it difficult for people with advanced degrees to find employment, and salaries for university graduates remain stagnant. On the other hand, however, the complaint heard throughout industry is that there are simply not enough people available, whether it be advanced R&D talent or basic technologists, to fill all the jobs out there. If this mismatch between the classroom and the workplace persists, it is certain to seriously affect Taiwan’s development in the future.

Our fourth challenge is the effect a low birthrate and an aging population will have on our pension systems. Over the past decade and more, Taiwan’s birthrate has been declining at an accelerating pace, dropping from 300,000 births per year to about 200,000. Today, an average of about three working people support one retiree or child; in 15 years, this will drop to two, creating a large burden on society. As a result, our pension systems face potentially massive funding shortfalls, and the national health insurance system may fall even farther into the red. While these problems are not now on our doorstep, the longer we wait to deal with them, the more difficult they will be to resolve.

II. Overcoming obstacles

These structural difficulties have been building up for a long time now. The government must do everything it can to support workers, guide businesses, and lead the people through these trying times. I am well aware that bringing about such structural change and systemic reform is a difficult and usually thankless task. But the government will absolutely fulfill its responsibilities to everyone in this country, and to future generations. My administration will do what must be done, overcome difficulties, and lay a solid foundation for Taiwan’s future growth and lasting prosperity.

I would like to reiterate that, first, we must effect a structural transformation of industry in Taiwan by embracing value-added innovation. This will position the country as a major provider of key components and precision equipment in the global industrial supply chain, and make us an indispensable member of the global economic and trading system.

In recent visits to various communities around the nation, I’ve observed a number of success stories, and seen for myself the energy and drive of our people. There is, for example, Tungpei Industrial Co., a company based in Zhongli, in Taoyuan County. It is Taiwan’s largest specialist manufacturer of ball bearings, which are a key component in precision machinery. It has not only managed to end the longstanding market dominance of foreign firms in Taiwan, but also been very successful at marketing its own-brand products all over the world. Then we have Pai Lung Machinery Mill Co. Based in Ruifang in New Taipei City, it is one of the world’s top three knitting machine manufacturers. The company holds hundreds of domestic and international patents, and markets its own-brand products around the globe. Meanwhile, Mosa Industrial Corp., based in Huwei in Yunlin County, ranks as the world’s second-largest producer of small, high-pressure gas cylinders. It is also one of only a handful of manufacturers anywhere in the world producing automotive airbag inflators. The government has recently launched a Champion Enterprises Project to nurture outstanding small and medium-sized enterprises such as these, which control key technologies and are highly competitive in the global market. These firms may not be household names, but they are the true “hidden champions” of Taiwan’s economy.

In the future, the government’s industrial policy must concentrate on boosting local employment and increasing people’s incomes. For our policy to attract more foreign investment, we need to break free from traditional approaches, which are over-reliant on tax breaks and low labor costs. Instead, we must bring about an open and friendly business environment, and build advanced and comprehensive infrastructure in order to create the competitive edge that will attract high value-added manufacturing and knowledge-intensive services.

Take, for example, our policy of encouraging Taiwanese businesses to return to Taiwan. The emphasis should be on helping them gain a competitive advantage by manufacturing products here. These advantages should stem from value-added innovation, rather than from lower salaries or taxes. And under no circumstances should the environment be sacrificed while seeking these ends.

Second, we have to rid ourselves of protectionist thinking and steer Taiwan in the direction of gradually becoming a free-trade island. Even as we establish “free economic demonstration zones,” we will also work to make inroads into emerging markets on fair and reciprocal terms. Today, Singapore has already signed free-trade agreements with most of its trading partners. Consequently, most of its exports qualify for tariff-free access to those markets. South Korea, one of our main trade competitors, is also actively discussing and signing free-trade agreements with its trading partners. As a result, South Korean exports enjoy tariff advantages over ours. We lag far behind on this front. Taiwan has got to close the gap if its industries are to compete on an equal footing.

Opening up an economy can help with its structural transformation and create new trade opportunities. However, this invariably comes at a price. Although certain sectors that have long enjoyed protection will be negatively affected, the government will assist them during the transition. Those sectors that do manage to adjust will be in much better shape as a result, while those that shy away from the competition will only grow weaker. I firmly believe that, given the flexibility and innovative ability of our industries, we can revive Taiwan’s economy and ensure its sustainable development.

Third, we have to reshape Taiwan’s system of technological research and development, strengthen cooperation between industry and academia, and enable educational institutions to play a substantial supporting role in industrial technology R&D. Porite Taiwan, located in Miaoli County’s Zhunan Township, offers a fine example of what can be achieved. The oil-impregnated bearings for micro-motors that the company produces rank number one in the world in terms of both output value and output volume. The company works with universities, which provide tailor-made courses taught by the company’s general manager and other senior executives. This gives students much-needed engineering skills, as well as a clear grasp of what industry requires. At the same time, the approach also helps the company recruit highly skilled technology professionals.

To effectively address the challenge, the National Science Council, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Ministry of Education have launched two related industry-academia alliance projects to narrow the gap between theory, training, and practical application. In addition, we must also spur transformation and development of our universities. We must change the way they are evaluated, so they can develop their own distinctive characteristics. We want to eliminate the wrong-headed idea that all universities should, by default, aim to secure a world ranking and publish research papers in academic journals. Rather, universities should develop their own strengths, and adopt appropriate development strategies to address such matters as research, teaching, and the dissemination of practical skills. They must maintain close connections with society, and help build up ties between academia, research institutes, and industry, to fulfill their responsibility to lead society. This must be done to make Taiwan more competitive overall.

Fourth, we must promote the reform of pension systems in a manner that recognizes that we are all in this together. Taiwan is our home. We all share a common destiny. We need to foster tolerance, understanding, cooperation, and mutual assistance. The strong must help the weak. Each generation must help the one coming after it. This is the true spirit of sustainable development. For years, our pension systems have been plagued by inadequate funding and an uneven distribution of benefits among different professions and age brackets of recipients. We aim to enact comprehensive, pragmatic, incremental, and transparent improvements to our pension systems, so as to make them fairer and ensure that the needs of future generations are even better served.

The 23 million people of Taiwan, regardless of status, location, occupation, or age, are all in the same boat; we must rely on one another through thick and thin, sharing the bad as well as the good. Four years ago, we were hit hard by the global financial crisis, but we weathered the storm with our “three pillars of support” policy that initiated a virtuous cycle whereby the government supported banks, banks supported businesses, and businesses supported their employees. Today, I would like to make the following request of our people: Let us refrain from meaningless confrontation, and by all means, avoid stirring up resentment among different groups. We absolutely cannot let the fabric of society continue to be ripped apart. We must immediately stop spinning our wheels, and put an end to internecine strife.

III. Reinvigorating the economy and rebuilding confidence

The most pressing task for the government at this time is to reinvigorate the economy and rebuild people’s confidence. It is clear to me that the government is the key to restoring confidence. My administration must set clearly defined policies, stick to its positions, and act decisively. It must show unshakable resolve and initiative to gain the confidence and trust of the people. This will help us create social consensus, integrate society’s resources, and focus on our common goals.

In this pivotal year, all government agencies must demonstrate determination and fortitude to resolve four core issues: transforming industrial structure; joining regional free trade blocs; promoting the type of R&D that meets industry needs; and reforming our pension systems. Central and local government agencies have got to break with established practices and standing conventions. They’ve got to take a hard look at public resources to see whether they are reasonably allocated, and whether every dollar is well spent. For any major policy with a bearing upon the people’s well-being, we must plan more comprehensively, communicate better, and execute more meticulously.

The government must function as a single entity; no agency should work toward its own ends. Central government agencies must end parochial behavior and proactively sell their policies to the public so as to dispel doubt and foster consensus. They must also achieve greater administrative efficiency, and their heads must show courage in carrying out their duties. I want to particularly stress that the government must work to create benefit for the people. Some civil servants have been criticized in the past for taking the attitude that “the more you do, the more mistakes you make; the less you do, the fewer mistakes you make.” This is no way to make our government more effective. Starting from today, the government, from top to bottom, must abide by the principle that “the more you do, the more you can accomplish; the less you do, the less you can accomplish.” As long as we operate within the bounds of the law, we should not fear serving the interests of the people; we should be committed to taking actions that benefit the people and the nation. We will thoroughly review and revise unreasonable laws and regulations. There are some which govern accounting and procurement, for example, that need to be amended. This is the only way to make it so that civil servants not only have a proactive attitude toward their work, but also have the ability and flexibility to resolve people’s problems. As to the scope and effectiveness of deregulatory measures, the Executive Yuan and its subordinate ministries and agencies must thoroughly implement policies and conduct regular reviews of their performance.

In the face of drastic political and economic changes taking place around the world, all public servants must have a sense of mission and, even more so, a sense of crisis, and urgency. They should work as one and give their all. My administration absolutely must show resolute determination and take decisive action in order to revitalize the economy and rebuild people’s confidence.

IV. Building a peaceful and friendly environment

Cross-strait peace is one of the keys to peace in the Asia-Pacific region, and a prerequisite for economic development and increased willingness to invest. The past four-and-a-half years have shown that improving cross-strait relations and gaining expanded room for maneuver in the international community go hand-in-hand. In the future, the ROC will continue to play a constructive role in the promotion of peace and prosperity in East Asia.

As for our relations with other parts of the world, we have always treasured our long-term friendship with the United States. We therefore were pleased that President Obama chose to visit Asia right after his re-election, and that Washington has continued to play a key role in maintaining security and order in East Asia. We intend to move up the date for a resumption of negotiations with the US under our Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) in order to expand and deepen the bilateral economic and trade relationship. Regarding recent disputes over the Diaoyutai Islets, Taiwan recently proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative, urging all parties to shelve disputes over sovereignty and promote the joint exploration of resources, thereby making the East China Sea a sea of peace and cooperation. The fishing negotiations currently underway between the ROC and Japan represent an important first step. We look forward to working with the new leaders of mainland China, Japan, and South Korea to ease tensions so that economic cooperation will once again be the main focus of relations in East Asia, as it should be.

I also hope to cooperate with the new leader of mainland China, Mr. Xi Jinping, in continuing to promote peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of the “1992 Consensus,” whereby each side acknowledges the existence of “one China” but maintains its own interpretation of what that means. We intend to accelerate the pace of follow-up negotiations under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in order to expand and deepen all aspects of cross-strait ties. We will also seek to further loosen restrictions on investments from mainland China, and will further open our borders to mainland students and free independent travelers. To this end, we will soon begin a comprehensive review of the “Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area” and amend it to eliminate certain out-of-date restrictions and discriminatory provisions. In addition, we will promote the establishment of administrative offices in each other’s territory so as to better serve the needs of the several million people who travel across the Taiwan Strait each year. This will also lay a stronger foundation for the institutionalization of peaceful cross-strait ties.

The people of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are all ethnic Chinese. We are all descended from the legendary Emperors Yan and Huang. Therefore, the leaders of the two sides should always keep long-term peace across the Taiwan Strait as a top priority. The further institutionalization of cross-strait ties fosters deeper understanding between our people and consolidates cross-strait peace. This goal is always uppermost in mind for me, and I pursue it with every means at my disposal.

V. Conclusion

Over the past few years, I have traveled throughout Taiwan and witnessed many moving success stories built on the creativity, determination, and concerted efforts of the people of Taiwan. In Wuqi District of Taichung City, for instance, I learned how Taiwan Hon Chuan Enterprise has slashed its transportation and packaging costs by relocating its production lines to clients’ plants. This has helped it become the largest supplier of food and drink packaging in Taiwan. In Yunlin County’s Lunbei Township, Sing Chang Koi Farm has transformed Taiwan’s ornamental carp into high-value living “works of art,” exporting them all over the world. In Meinong Community of Taitung County, young adults who returned to the land of their youth to take up farming have developed the unique atemoya ice cream. This dessert is made of locally grown atemoya, also known as the “pineapple sugar-apple.” This is now one of the desserts we present at state banquets. In Tainan City’s Sinying District, Gloria Material Technology Corporation provides the global aviation, aerospace, and energy industries with special steels. Through customization, its products have become indispensible to clients. The firm ranks among the top 10 in the world in its field in terms of market share. All of these success stories represent the fruits of the government’s new approach to the task of spurring recovery in the industrial sector, namely, incorporating a service element into manufacturing, and promoting the emergence of distinctive traditional industries.

Here in Taiwan, our home, I have been touched and filled with hope by the hard-working and enterprising ways of the people, the vitality of the private sector, the creativity of younger generations, and the ambition of our small and medium-sized enterprises. I believe it is precisely this vitality, creativity, and ambition that will enable us to reinvigorate Taiwan’s economy.

My compatriots, this past year was a difficult one for all of us. Yet together, we overcame setbacks and realized outstanding achievements. For instance, the number of travelers visiting Taiwan from abroad exceeded the seven million mark, a new record that tops the figure from four-and-a-half years earlier by 88%; and the number of jurisdictions granting visa waivers or landing visas to Republic of China passport holders jumped to 131, up by a factor of 2.5 from four-and-a-half years ago. Quite clearly, the international community now holds a more friendly and positive attitude toward Taiwan. Our success has not come easily, but this reminds us never to underestimate the resilience of our people.

My fellow citizens, please rest assured that no matter how difficult and hazardous the world may be, as long as we remain confident, work as one, seek reform, and skillfully marshal the forces of progress, we can surely achieve positive things and create a new future for the Chinese society.

With the advent of the New Year, I would like to wish all of you good health, peace, and happiness. May all that you hope for come to pass.

Thank you.

馬英九元旦祝詞全文內容:

今天,是中華民國102年的開國紀念日。回顧去年,全球經濟不景氣帶給我們嚴峻的考驗,英九要說一聲:大家辛苦了!由於大家的努力,我們平安度過了這艱辛的一年。如今,全球經濟已經露出復甦的曙光;展望新的一年,臺灣的經濟情勢一定會比去年好。在經濟開始回溫的此刻,我們更應該掌握時機、加速改革、奮起行動,回應以下四個艱鉅挑戰。

第一個挑戰,就是全球產業競爭更加劇烈。過去我們的高科技產業高度集中於電子、資訊與通訊等產品,並依賴昂貴的國外專利授權取得關鍵技術。即使如此,這些產業仍然能夠憑藉優良的品質管理與成本控制能力,建立起高效率的代工體系,成為國際供應鏈中重要的一環。如今隨著全球經濟環境變遷,各國產業之間的競爭越來越激烈,我們這種代工模式開始陷入困境。

第二個挑戰,就是區域自由貿易區塊加速形成。由東協(ASEAN)所倡導的「區域全面經濟夥伴關係」(RCEP)談判,即將在今年年初正式啟動,計劃建構全球最大、人口超過三十億、產值超過世界總產值四分之一的自由貿易區。除此之外,中國大陸與日本、韓國預定在今年三、四月間正式啟動「東北亞自由貿易協定」的談判,而美國也積極推動門檻更高的「跨太平洋夥伴協議」(TPP)。是否能搭上這班區域經濟整合的列車,將是我國能否擴大經貿版圖的關鍵。

第三個挑戰,就是人才培育與產業需求的嚴重失衡。長期以來,我們的大學校院雖然發展快速,但學術與實務之間應有的密切結合,有待改善。一方面,高學歷人才就業不易,大學畢業生的薪資也原地踏步;另一方面,產業卻普遍反映高階研發與基礎技術人才的不足。產學之間這種落差如果持續,我國未來的發展必將受到嚴重影響。

第四個挑戰,就是少子女化與人口高齡化造成的年金問題。過去十多年來,臺灣的少子女化問題快速惡化,從一年30萬新生兒降到約20萬。臺灣如今大約每3個青壯人口要扶養1個老人或小孩;而十五年之後,這數字將降到平均2個青壯人口就要扶養1個老人或小孩,整個社會的負擔將非常沈重。因此,各項退休年金制度都潛藏了巨大的財務缺口,全民健保的財務情況也可能更加惡化。這些問題雖然並非迫在眉睫,但如不提前面對,未來解決將更為困難。

面對這些長期累積的結構性難題,政府一定要全力以赴,協助勞工、引導企業、帶領全民克服困難。英九很清楚,處理這些艱難的結構轉型與制度改革問題,不容易得到掌聲;但政府一定會以向全民負責、向子孫負責、向歷史負責的態度,為所當為,克服困難,為臺灣奠定可大可久的基礎。

首先,英九重申,我們一定要透過創新加值,推動臺灣產業結構轉型,使臺灣成為國際產業鏈中關鍵元件和精密設備的提供者,在全球經貿體系中建立起無可取代的地位。

英九最近走訪基層,觀察到許多成功的案例,也看到臺灣人豐沛的生命力。例如位於桃園縣中壢的東培工業公司,是臺灣精密機械關鍵零組件(軸承)最大的專業製造廠,不僅成功打破外商產品在臺灣的長期壟斷,更以自有品牌行銷全球。位於新北市瑞芳的佰龍機械公司,是世界前三大針織機械製造廠,擁有國內外數百項專利,也以自創品牌行銷全球。位於雲林縣虎尾工業區的元翎精密工業公司,是世界上排名第二的小型高壓鋼瓶製造商,也是全球少數汽車安全氣囊氣體發生器的製造商。政府目前積極推動「中堅企業躍升計畫」,就是希望培養出許多這種具有關鍵技術以及國際市場競爭力的傑出廠商;一般民眾對他們未必熟悉,但他們卻是臺灣經濟體系中的「隱形冠軍」(hidden champions)。

未來政府的產業政策,必須以增加在地就業及提高人民所得為導向。吸引外資的政策,要擺脫過度依賴租稅減免或壓低勞動成本的傳統思維,改以開放與友善的經營環境、先進與完備的基礎設施,作為引進高附加價值製造業與知識密集型服務業的優勢條件。

以引導臺商回臺投資為例,我們的重點是協助臺商建立在臺灣生產的競爭優勢;這種優勢應該來自創新加值,而非低廉的生產成本,更不能以犧牲環境作為代價。

第二、我們要破除保護主義的思維,讓臺灣逐漸走向自由貿易島。我們將在設置「自由經濟示範區」的同時,在平等互惠的條件下開拓新興市場。現在,新加坡與大多數的貿易夥伴都簽署了自由貿易協定,所以出口到這些國家的多數貨品,享有減免關稅待遇。我國主要貿易競爭對手之一的韓國,目前也在積極與貿易夥伴洽簽自由貿易協定,這使得他們的出口產品,比我國享有更多的關稅優勢。相形之下,我們在這方面遠遠落後。唯有急起直追,我國產業才能夠和貿易競爭對手公平競爭。

對外開放可以帶動產業結構轉型,創造新的貿易機會,但難免要付出一些代價。有些長期受保護的產業不得不承受開放的衝擊,政府一定會協助這些產業轉型。經過調適後的產業,體質將會更好;而不敢面對競爭的產業,體質反而會變弱。英九深信,以臺灣產業的靈活創新能力,我們一定可以重振臺灣經濟活力、維護永續發展生機。

第三、我們要重整科技研發體制、強化產學合作,使教育成為產業技術研發的堅實後盾。苗栗縣竹南的臺灣保來得公司,就是很好的示範。保來得生產的微型馬達含油軸承,產值與產量都是世界第一。他們與大學進行產學合作,由學校開設客製化課程,安排公司內總經理級幹部在校授課,一方面,讓青年學子清楚瞭解產業需求、學習工程技術;同時,也為企業延攬優質專業的技術人才。

為有效因應挑戰,國科會、經濟部與教育部,已積極研商「產學大聯盟」與「產學小聯盟」等方案,以縮短學用落差,同時也要推動並落實大學轉型發展,調整評鑑機制,讓大學能夠建立各自的特色。我們要破除大學一味追求世界排名與期刊論文發表篇數的迷思,讓大學能夠依據自己的強項,針對教學、研究與實務技能,規劃適當的發展策略。大學應該與社會有緊密聯繫,促使學術、研究機構及產業連結,展現大學引導社會的責任,提升臺灣整體競爭力。

第四、我們一定要以同舟共濟的精神推動年金制度的改革。臺灣是我們的家園,我們是命運共同體,大家一定要相互包容、體諒、合作與互助,強者要幫助弱者,這一代要幫助下一代,這才是永續發展的精神。長期以來,我國的年金制度面臨「經費不足、行業不平、世代不均」三大困境。我們未來將秉持著「全面、務實、漸進、透明」的原則改進年金制度,讓這個制度更加公平,讓未來的世世代代更有保障。

臺灣兩千三百萬人不分身分、地域、職業與世代都在同一條船上,禍福相依、榮辱與共。四年前我們面對全球金融海嘯的重大衝擊,透過「政府挺銀行、銀行挺企業、企業挺勞工」三挺政策的良性循環,臺灣因而安然度過經濟危機。因此,英九要懇切的呼籲:我們一定要避免無謂的對立,更不應挑起妒恨的情緒,絕對不能讓社會繼續撕裂,一定要立刻停止空轉與內耗。

當前政府最重要的任務就是重振經濟活力、重建民眾信心。英九深知,政府乃是重建民眾信心的關鍵,執政團隊一定要政策明確、立場堅定、行事果斷,以無比的魄力和行動力讓民眾產生信心與信賴,引導社會共識、整合社會資源,集中全力向共同目標邁進。

在這關鍵的一年,政府各部會一定要針對產業結構轉型、融入區域自由貿易區塊、科研發展結合產業需求,以及年金制度改革四項核心問題,展現破解難題的決心與毅力。各部會與各級政府也一定要打破成規與舊習,全面檢討政府資源配置的合理性,每一塊錢都要用在刀口上。凡是涉及民生的重大政策,規劃要更周延、溝通要更充分、執行要更細緻。

政府是一個整體,不能各自為政,所以各部會一定要摒除本位主義,更要能主動挺身為政策宣導辯護,以化解疑慮、形成共識。各部會更要全力提升行政效率,機關首長也必須勇於任事。英九尤其要強調,政府要主動為民興利,過去有些人批評部分公務員有「多做多錯,少做少錯」的心態,不利政府提升效能。今後,政府由上到下都要秉持「多做多對,少做少對」的觀念,只要合法,不要怕圖利人民,積極努力,做對人民、對國家有利的事。我們要徹底檢討修正不合理的法規,例如有些會計和採購法規。這樣才能讓公務員不僅願意積極任事,也有能力和彈性為民眾解決問題;對於法規鬆綁的幅度和效果,行政院和所屬部會尤其要貫徹實施、定期檢討。

面對劇烈變動的全球政治經濟形勢,所有公務員務必要有使命感,更要有危機感與緊迫感,全體一心,全力以赴。而執政團隊也一定要以破釜沈舟的決心與勇往直前的行動力,重振經濟的活力、重建民眾的信心。

兩岸和平是亞太和平的基礎之一,也是促進經濟發展與提振投資意願的必要條件。過去四年半來,事實證明改善兩岸關係與開拓國際空間可以相輔相成,未來中華民國要繼續在東亞扮演推動和平與促進繁榮的建設性角色。

同時,在國際上我們一向珍惜與美國的長期友誼,所以樂見歐巴馬總統當選連任後立刻訪問亞洲,並發揮維護東亞安全秩序的關鍵作用。我們也將加速重啟與美國在「貿易與投資架構協定」(TIFA)之下的協商,擴大且深化兩國的經貿關係。最近我國針對釣魚臺列嶼爭議提出「東海和平倡議」,主張在「擱置主權爭議、合作開發資源」的原則下,使東海成為和平與合作之海。我國與日本正在進行的漁業協商,就是一個關鍵的起點。中國大陸、日本和韓國陸續產生新領導人,我們期待未來各方共同合作,化解緊張情勢,讓東亞能回到經濟合作的正軌。

英九盼望與中國大陸新領導人習近平先生,在鞏固「九二共識,一中各表」的基礎上,持續推動兩岸和平發展,全面擴大與深化兩岸交流。我們將加速「兩岸經濟合作架構協議」(ECFA)的後續協商,進一步放寬陸資與陸生來臺及陸客自由行,近期內還要通盤檢討與修正「兩岸人民關係條例」,取消不合時宜的限制與歧視性規定。政府也將積極推動兩岸兩會互設辦事機構,以照顧每年來往兩岸之間數百萬的廣大民眾,為兩岸和平發展的制度化打下更堅實的基礎。

兩岸人民同屬中華民族、都是炎黃子孫,兩岸領導人都應該將確保臺海永久和平當成首要之務。而兩岸交流越制度化,兩岸人民對彼此的認識越深入,兩岸的和平也就越鞏固,這是我念茲在茲、全力追求的目標。

過去幾年,英九走訪了臺灣許多角落,見證了我們臺灣人用創意、用決心,共同攜手打拚出一片天的動人故事。我在臺中市梧棲深入瞭解了宏全公司,他們直接將生產線進駐到客戶的廠房內以節省運輸和包裝成本,因而躍升為臺灣第一大食品飲料包材供應商;我在雲林縣崙背親自見證了欣昌公司如何將臺灣錦鯉魚提升為高價位的活藝術品,銷往全世界;在臺東縣的美農社區,我看到返鄉務農的年輕人發揮創意,將臺灣鳳梨釋迦發揚光大,作成全球獨特的「鳳梨釋迦冰淇淋」,更成為國宴甜點之一;我也拜訪了臺南市新營的榮剛公司,他們為全球航太、能源等產業提供特殊鋼,客製化的產品已成為這些產業不可或缺的材料,市場占有率排在全球前十名。這些案例所展現的,正是政府所推動的產業新方向,也就是製造業服務化,以及傳統產業特色化。

在臺灣,我們的土地上,我看到人民如此勤奮進取、民間活力如此充沛、年輕世代創意如此豐富、中小企業企圖心如此旺盛,心中總是充滿感動與希望。我相信,這些活力、創意和企圖心,都將是我們重振臺灣經濟的最大本錢。

各位父老鄉親,過去一年,是艱辛的一年,我們攜手度過難關,也共同創造了許多傲人的成績。例如,境外來臺人次突破史無前例的700萬,到昨日為止已經超過了730萬,比4年半前成長88%,更在全世界獲得131個國家及地區給與我國免簽證或落地簽的待遇,是4年半前的兩倍半,顯示國際社會對我們更友善、更肯定。這些成果得來不易,也證明了臺灣人的實力不容低估。

各位父老鄉親請放心,未來不論國際環境還有多少困難險阻,只要我們大家堅定信心,攜手向前,秉持改革的熱情,凝聚進步的動力,一定可以為中華民族開創新的局面與未來。

「咱臺灣人不是咁哪靠景氣,擱卡愛靠志氣和勇氣」(閩南語);「人愛志氣虎愛威,大家共條心,正實際」(客語)。

值此新年開端,英九預祝大家來年身體健康、闔家安樂、心想事成。謝謝大家!

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