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Taiwan passes special budget for infrastructure stimulus plan

[TAIPEI] Taiwan's parliament on Thursday passed a special budget for a major infrastructure development plan, managing to steer it through fierce debate in the legislature with only a modest spending cut from the original proposal.

The budget was cut by 1.7 per cent to NT$107 billion (S$4.79 billion) for the first phase, after wrangling between the majority ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT) over the past four days on how the funds should be allocated.

The original stimulus plan first proposed in March was worth NT$840 billion in total, and was later cut by half to NT$420 billion as authorities sought to bolster domestic demand and rebalance the island's export-driven economy.

Taiwan's economy is showing signs of recovery, prompting the government earlier this month to raise its growth forecast for 2017 and predict further gains in 2018, thanks to solid demand for components used in smartphones and other tech gadgets.

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But concerns that Taiwan's economy has become too heavily reliant on exports were a motivating factor for the domestic infrastructure development bill passed on Thursday.

REUTERS