The New Southbound Policy is expanding Taiwan’s exchanges with NSP target countries and ensuring the nation is included in regional integration, according to Premier Lai Ching-te April 24.

Fast-tracking tie-ups with like-minded countries while transforming Taiwan’s economic and industrial structures is one of the main functions of the policy, Lai said. Another is its important role in balancing the nation’s global strategy and ensuring sustainable long-term development, he added.

According to Lai, no stone will be left unturned in cultivating collaborations and partnerships with NSP target countries based on the principles of reciprocity, diversity and win-win outcomes.

A key plank in the government’s national development strategy, the policy seeks to deepen agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nation member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

The latest statistics from the Cabinet’s Office of Trade Negotiations illustrate the effectiveness of the policy to date. Total trade with NSP target countries climbed 15.61 percent year on year to US$110.9 billion in 2017; Taiwan investment in the region surged 54.51 percent to US$3.68 billion; and inbound investment moved up 15.8 percent to US$270 million.

On the education front, the number of students from NSP target countries enrolled in Taiwan institutions during the first semester of 2017 increased 18 percent to 37,999. A similar rise of 19.7 percent to 19,269 was recorded for locals studying in the region.

Tourism metrics also trended upwards. Arrivals from NSP countries climbed 27.65 percent to 2.28 million, while Taiwan departures to the region gained 10.77 percent to 2.47 million. The former is attributed to the easing of visa regulations for nationals from NSP target countries such as Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Regarding business opportunities, one of the highlights involved Taiwan firms sealing deals totaling NT$25.2 billion (US$850.89 million) for 2017 across sectors like energy, environmental protection engineering, petrochemical and smart urban transportation.

This is largely due to tailored government support measures, renewed investment protection agreements with India and the Philippines and the establishment of Taiwan investment service windows in India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

〔Original :Taiwan Today〕