A week after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) called on foreign service officers to prioritize business and trade relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reaffirmed its determination to help investors locate and explore business opportunities abroad.
Department of Economic and Trade Affairs Director-General Weber Shih (施文斌) said that under its existing economic and trade projects, the ministry would double its efforts to assist Taiwanese businesspeople looking to expand overseas.
This would be accomplished through subsidies for companies attending overseas trade shows, incentives to invest in the nation’s allies and efforts to bolster trade with countries that have signed free trade agreements with Taiwan, Shih said.
This year, the government expects to subsidize vendors participating at 21 trade shows in more than 19 countries that include allies and non-allies, he said.
To improve the public’s understanding of the benefits offered by Taiwan’s recent accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), MOFA and the Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research will hold a joint seminar next Wednesday on the topic.
Shih said the nation’s inclusion in the GPA program could present more than US$390 billion in business opportunities for local investors. The figure is 12 times the cost of procurement by all government agencies combined, he said.
Last week at the annual Spring Banquet for the diplomatic corps, Ma urged foreign service officers to focus on bilateral trade and business relations to combat the economic slowdown.
“We will seek new opportunities for our business community, while actively working to reduce trade and investment barriers. There will therefore be a new emphasis on issues of minimal political significance to further integrate Taiwan into the world economy for the benefit of our nation and the global economy,” Ma said at the time.
In related news, the ministry said it would hold an exhibit featuring handicrafts from seven countries in Africa, including four of the nation’s allies and three countries friendly to Taiwan.
MOFA will also team up with the International Development Cooperation Fund (ICDF) to provide “Geographic Information System” services to Nicaragua for a year.
The service, he said, uses satellite positioning technology and can be used in detecting natural disasters, carrying out rescue efforts, managing transportation and monitoring the environment.