Industrial development is the key to a nation's economic construction, and commerce is the mainstay of a nation's economic activities. In past years, the government has been actively engaged in improving Taiwan's industrial structure and investment environment. An industrial and commercial registration information system has been set up, registration procedures simplified and administrative efficiency raised. Medium and small businesses have been assisted to improve their operational systems and provided with management diagnostic services to raise productivity.
Province-run enterprises are being encouraged to overhaul their management account-ability system, and plans are under way to open such enterprises to private operation and to set up a business discrimination system. In order to encourage overseas investment, investment regulations for foreigners and overseas Chinese are also being revised.
With government planning and guidance and with the people's hard work, Taiwan has made remarkable progress since its restoration to the ROC in 1945. Comparing Taiwan's increased industrial production with its decreased agricultural production, we can say that Taiwan has entered the ranks of industrialized societies.
Under the "Guidelines for Stimulating the Economy" the government is committed to raising private sector investment willingness and promoting industrial development. Development of dedicated or general industrial zones is being accelerated, and advice and encouragement is given on investment in plant construction. Plans have been made to open special areas for contaminative industries which will operate under government surveillance and meet regulations set by the Department of Environmental Protection. So far, 136 sites have been registered for industrial use, of which 75 have been completed. In urban areas, 320 industrial zones are under consideration.
The industrial production index in 1994, using that of 1991 as 100, was 115.61. Industrial exports, such as electric appliances, electronic parts, plastics and synthetic fibers, amounted to US$81.43 billion in 1993, about 95.9% of entire exports and a 0.2% increase over that of 1992 .
Due to the government's incessant efforts, the ratio of light industries to heavy industries has changed from 54.2:45.8 in 1982 to 36.45:63.55 in 1994. This signifies a great improvement in the industrial structure.
Aside from continuing to expand exports, future emphases are to develop heavy industries; to develop capital and technology intensive industries, such as machinery, cars, electronics, and telecommunications; to establish complete lines of industries; to increase the productivity of conventional industries; to actively help develop strategic industries; to systemize production-sales order and establish satellite factories; to assist private industries in research and development; and to establish Taiwan's own trademarks for the international market, thus helping medium and small businesses and continuing to improve investment conditions to attract foreign capital and technology.
Being an island of few natural resources, Taiwan depends heavily on foreign trade. Since the first four-year plan began in 1953, commercial activities have boomed. Registered companies numbered 280,785 by the end of 1994, with total capital of US$60.52 billion; shops were 546,445 with total capital of US$1.91 billion. In 1993, total imports were US$77.07 billion, and the total exports were US$95.09 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$8.03 billion. Crude oil was the largest single import item, and electronics were the major exports.
Presently Taiwan is undergoing a transition. In order to break down trade barriers and overcome difficulties of exportation, measures have been taken to open markets and urge the liberalization of foreign trade, to improve quality control and crack down on counterfeiting, to strengthen weights and measures-verification and inspection, publicize relevant policies, and implement free trade laws and product labeling laws to maintain orderly trade and safeguard consumer rights, and to continue price stabilization measures to ensure continued stable economic growth.
To encourage investment and cooperation between money market and industry, all Provincial Government-owned banks have followed the central government's money policy to, on the one hand, coordinate supply and demand between idle money and business, and on the other hand, encourage efficient business management and more effectively service industry and commerce. And in order to create a better environment for business investment, the government has been cracking down on illegal investment activities and taking steps to improve economic order.
Provincial Government-affiliated enterprises are charged with the responsibility of helping maintain the island's economic prosperity and social stability. The Provincial Government has taken action to upgrade management and improve technology in order to maximize productivity and function, and is actively planning for future privatization.
Over 20 types of minerals are mined in Tai-wan, mainly marble, limestone, serpentine, and gravel . Under government guidance the mining industry has developed rapidly, with total production in 1994 amounting to NT$40.5 billion. Marble is Taiwan's most important mineral. re-source, with reserves conservatively estimated at over 300 billion tonnes.
Under the policy of moving Taiwan's mining industry eastward, "special mining zones" are gradually being established in areas of concentration of mineral deposits with development potential. At the same time, new extraction technologies, equipment and methods are being introduced to ensure reasonable development of Taiwan's mineral resources with due care for environmental protection, the preservation of scenic areas, and water and soil conservation. In the future, our aims will include strengthening control and supervision of the mining industry, maintaining mine safety, organizing training for miners, promoting a zero disaster drive, diversifying exploitation of earth and stone resources, up-grading mineral exploration capability and extraction technology, preserving the natural environment, establishing national and international mining information networks, and sponsoring research into the testing and utilization of mineral products to promote national economic development.