Trade and tourism between Taiwan and nations targeted by the New Southbound Policy launched by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) have grown considerably, Executive Yuan Office of Trade Negotiations data showed.
From January to August, trade between Taiwan and the 18 countries targeted by the policy rose 5.5 percent from a year earlier to US$77.07 billion, the data showed.
During the period, Taiwan’s exports to the targeted countries rose 3.2 percent annually to US$45.33 billion, while imports rose 9.1 percent to US$31.74 billion.
In the first eight months of this year, nationals of the 18 countries made a total of 1,636,360 visits to Taiwan, up 16.9 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 22.9 percent of total inbound tourists over the period, the data showed.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese made 1,923,742 visits to the targeted nations, up 13.8 percent from a year earlier and accounting for 16.8 percent of all outbound trips, office data showed.
The latest policy handbook published by the office for this year showed that the number of visits by people from the 18 nations was 2,284,000 last year, up by 496,000 visits, or 27.6 percent, from 2016, a person with knowledge of the matter said.
Taiwanese last year made 2,474,000 visits to the targeted nations, up by 240,000 visits, or 10.8 percent, from the year before, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The office plans to continue facilitating “soft” exchanges with the targeted nations by boosting the number of mutual visits to foster a sense of friendliness, familiarity and recognition, the source said.
The handbook also said that the government has named public projects as a potential avenue through which it can further improve relations with the targeted nations, the source added.
The office aims to secure projects with a combined annual budget of at least US$20 billion and would focus on five areas: power plants, the petrochemical industry, intelligent transportation systems, metro systems and environmental protection, they said.
Taiwan last year secured 17 public projects in the targeted nations with a combined bidding price of US$25.2 billion and won 20 projects with a total bidding price of US$25 billion in the first seven months of this year, the source said.
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