Taiwan and India should sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) as soon as possible as a major way to boost bilateral ties, Taiwan’s representative to India, Philip Ong (翁文祺), said yesterday.
Trade volume between Taiwan and India is expected to grow from US$6.4 billion last year to US$10 billion in three to four years, Ong said in an interview with the Times of India.
He said the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) and the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations have been studying the possibility of signing an FTA.
Taiwanese companies have invested only US$1 billion in India, but growth in their investments is expected, Ong said.
“Taiwan is a natural partner for India if the latter wants to increase its manufacturing output to GDP ratio from 16 percent to 25 percent within the next five years,” Ong said.
Asked about Taiwanese impressions of the people of India, Ong said Mahatma Gandhi and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore were well-known names in the past and that the people of the younger generation are impressed by India’s economic growth and Bollywood movies.
Increasing the number of Mandarin teachers in India would be the best way to help mutual understanding and bridge the cultural gap, Ong said.
He also said Taiwan’s high quality, low-cost education could be a good choice for Indian students who want to study abroad.
Currently, Taiwan educates about 500 Indian students, a number that is expected to increase to about 5,000 within five or six years, he added.