Taiwan is heading in the right direction in coping with the global economic slowdown by focusing more on trade with emerging markets, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said yesterday.
However, Taiwan needs to move beyond consolidating established customers in emerging markets by tapping into new commercial opportunities, Shih said, and he promised government support.
“Although it is more difficult to move into emerging markets, with which we’re not as familiar as Japan, the US or Europe, the -government will help develop personal contacts and pool information and resources,” Shih said at a meeting with about 1,300 representatives of Taiwan-based businesses.
The minister said that despite the gloomy global economy, the country’s exports to China and other emerging markets had increased 9.1 percent and 23.2 percent respectively during the first 11 months of the year, compared with the same period last year.
Taiwan’s export growth to India, South Africa and the Middle East respectively has even surpassed that of major trade rivals South Korea and Japan, he said.
Market research firm Global Insight has said emerging markets will grow faster than the rest of the world next year, Shih said, an indication of the leading role they now play in the global economy.
The research firm has projected 5.2 percent growth for emerging markets next year, compared with 2.4 percent growth for the world as a whole. Shih said Taiwan has targeted economic growth of 4.3 percent and export growth of 8 percent to 10 percent for next year, despite potentially difficult global economic conditions.
In related news, Shanghai approved 450 investment projects by Taiwanese firms with a total contract value of US$2.38 billion in the first 10 months of this year, Shanghai municipal officials said yesterday.
The approved Taiwanese investments represented a record high in terms of contract value and accounted for 14 percent of total foreign direct investment in Shanghai during the period, officials said at a press conference.
So far, Shanghai has approved an accumulated 8,600 investment projects by Taiwanese businesses with a total contract value of US$26.83 billion, officials said.
Qu Guoliang (瞿國樑), deputy director of the city’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said that in line with the new economic policies outlined in China’s 12th five-year economic development plan, Shanghai has recently unveiled a series of measures to help Taiwanese businesses.
The measures include providing better financial services to -Shanghai-based Taiwanese enterprises, encouraging them to accelerate business upgrades or transformations, and encouraging enterprises in the innovative and service sectors to take root in the city.
Yu Wenkai (余文凱), head of Shanghai’s foreign investment unit, said the city government has set aside a fund of 400 million yuan (US$63.3 million) aimed at nurturing the service industry, which could be used by Taiwanese businesses.
However, Yu said he could not provide concrete figures on how much Taiwanese firms have benefited from the fund.
Tu Youfu (屠友富), a division head of the city government’s monetary department said that the Shanghai branches of three Taiwanese banks — Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行), Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) and First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) — are all performing well and they are expected to qualify to handle yuan-denominated business soon.