Taiwan is helping its Central American and Caribbean allies by using its best-known expertise — information communication technology (ICT) — with the goal of boosting their e-commerce capabilities, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
The National ICT Center of Belize, which opened on Aug. 27 in Belmopan, Belize, was Taiwan’s latest effort to aid its four Caribbean allies in promoting “information societies,” International Cooperation and Development Fund Deputy Secretary-General Valentino Tang (湯繼仁) said.
Taiwan had already helped Saint Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia establish ICT centers, he said, adding that the design concepts for the centers were eco-friendly, using solar energy for power.
All countries in Central America are interested in developing e-commerce systems, with Guatemala, a diplomatic ally, being the first to cooperate with Taiwan to set up an e-commerce system for tourism, he said.
Likening e-commerce systems in Central and Caribbean countries to the Silk Road — the ancient 6000km trade route between Europe and Asia — Tang said that e-commerce systems would help the countries to expand their trade and economic activities around the world.
“Once the e-commerce system for tourism is completed in Guatemala, for example, foreign tourists visiting the country would be able to deal directly with local businesses instead of through travel agencies mostly owned by US companies, and that would give a great impetus to its economic development,” he said.
In other diplomatic news, Osaka Governor Toru Hashimoto said in Taipei yesterday that Japan and Taiwan needed to strengthen bilateral civil and economic exchanges so that the Japanese could improve their understanding of Taiwan, which he said was insufficient.
“Currently all Taiwan-Japan joint corporations take the form of Japanese investment in Taiwan, but not vice versa. Judging by Taiwan’s economic strength, it’s possible for Taiwanese businesses to have their operations in Japan. We hope Taiwanese can come to Japan to invest,” Hashimoto told a seminar on investing in Osaka.
He is leading a 14-member business delegation.
While declining to say whether the delegation’s visit was motivated by the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement Taiwan signed with China in June, Hashimoto said Japan should not miss out on opportunities created by economic rapprochement between Taiwan and China.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA