This year, the Australian Office in Taipei has promoted further economic, cultural and people-to-people links between Australia and Taiwan under the theme “Sharing our Treasures, Creating our Future.”
This is reflected in the exchange of artifacts from the National Palace Museum, displayed in Australia early this year, and the exhibition of bark paintings from Australian Aborigines, currently on display at National Taiwan Museum until February.
That these nations can share national treasures says a lot about the trust that has grown in this relationship.
This is clear in the nations’ multifaceted trade and investment partnership, which has grown substantially in the past year, with trade reaching NT$370 billion (US$12.l2 billion).
Additionally, Australia in August hosted the largest Taiwanese business delegation in 25 years at the Australia-Taiwan Business Council Joint Conference in Brisbane, led by Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Tseng Wen-sheng (曾文生).
Minerals and energy remain a foundation of the economic relationship, as Australia is Taiwan’s largest energy provider, and it plans to stay there. It also aspires to grow and shift as Taiwan does.
Last week, Australia’s Macquarie Capital and its partners commissioned Taiwan’s first large-scale offshore wind project, Formosa 1, while a week before it broke ground on Taiwan’s second major offshore wind project, Formosa 2, an Australian-led investment worth NT$62.4 billion.
Last week, CPC Corp, Taiwan also received its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its investment in the Prelude FLNG project in Western Australia. Australia was a leading supplier of LNG to Taiwan in the past year.
This year also saw the start of Iron Bridge, a vast iron ore project between Australia’s Fortescue Metals Group and Formosa Plastics Group. Its NT$25 billion investment is Taiwan’s single biggest investment in Australia.
Education remains an enduring strength of the Australia-Taiwan partnership, as Australia is Taiwan’s second-biggest international education partner, with vocational education and training to prepare future generations for the international job market.
At the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Taipei Business Awards, Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor received this year’s Australia-Taiwan Business Partnership Award for its role in fostering vocational education and training.
Two-way tourism has also grown stronger. Last year, the number of Australians visiting Taiwan grew by almost 13 percent to more than 100,000, with tourists enjoying Taiwan’s beauty and the friendliness of its people. Taiwanese tourism to Australia also increased, with more than 200,000 visitors from Taiwan experiencing Australia’s warm welcome and world-famous sites.
Business has also grown in new areas, such as health products, healthcare and medicine. Twenty Taiwanese healthcare companies chose Australia to conduct their clinical trials, and leading Australian biotechnology companies joined the BIO Asia-Taiwan International Conference and Exhibition to explore collaboration opportunities.
Growth in trade and investment means more and better-paying jobs in Taiwan and Australia. It means Taiwanese enjoy cheaper, cleaner energy. It means the nations will know each other better as our education and tourism links deepen.
It means Taiwanese consumers enjoy clean, green and healthy Australian products and Australians benefit from Taiwan’s cutting-edge technology and high-quality consumer products.
Growing business, trade and investment links mean Taiwan and Australia share prosperity and work to build a better future together.
Gary Cowan is the Australian representative to Taiwan.
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