March 14, 2016 / 8:58 AM / a year ago

Choice of Taiwan premier shows economy a top priority

2 Min Read

Taiwan's president-elect Tsai Ing-wen speaks to journalists before visiting earthquake survivals at the hospital at Tainan, southern Taiwan February 8, 2016.Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan president-elect Tsai Ing-wen will appoint a former finance minister, Lin Chuan, as premier, her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on Monday, 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. He was a close aide to Tsai during her presidential campaign.

"Taiwan's economy has been hit by global economic weakness, particularly China and the U.S. 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 favorite investment destination.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring it under its control.

Reporting by Jeanny Kao and Faith Hung; Editing by Nick Macfie

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