As part of the President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s “new southbound policy,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) earlier this month established a committee for the development of overseas trade interests.
The 100-member committee, whose convener is DPP Secretary-General Hung Yao-fu (洪耀福), represents businesspeople investing in Southeast Asian nations and India, said a party official who declined to be named, adding the committee has recently begun cooperating with Indian universities.
The majority of the DPP’s development of ties in Southeast Asia has been the work of people recruited by former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃), the official said, adding that the DPP’s connections have been made through Taiwanese factories that moved their operations to the region during Yu’s era.
The party aims to promote Tsai’s policy through Hsieh Shih-ying (謝世英), a businessman in the Philippines, and the ninth chairperson of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce, the official said.
At its initial meeting on Oct. 5, the committee issued qualifications to just over 100 applicants, the majority of whom have business interests in Southeast Asia, sources said.
The committee members include about 10 former or current DPP members, including Department of Culture and Information director Super Meng (孟義超); and Taiwan Rolling Stock Co chairman Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯), a former legislator; and other former lawmakers Kao Chien-chih (高建智) and Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢).
One individual with knowledge of the committee who declined to be named said that while the DPP has traditionally limited its engagement with the business community to election periods, its current efforts are in the interest of developing a permanent forum for discussion of overseas economic development that civic groups can also be involved with.
The committee hopes this approach will support the aims of the “new southbound policy” and allow businesspeople operating in Southeast Asia to voice their suggestions, sources said.
Meng, who has recently returned from India, said the GDP of India is rapidly growing, as is the nation’s middle class.
Only about 30,000 Indians visit Taiwan annually, a number that he said could be increased considerably.
On his latest trip to India to exploring investment strategies alongside officials from the National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, he spoke with Taiwanese businesspeople working there, who brought up the issue of human resources.
Investors expressed an interest in combining India’s expertise in software development with Taiwan’s hardware industry, citing successes in training Indian students at Taiwanese universities and having them work at Taiwanese companies in India afterward, he said.
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