Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

S Korea competing for SE Asia projects

‘THEY WILL DO THEIR THING’:Public construction in Southeast Asia is worth about NT$8 trillion, and the government is determined to help firms get a slice, an official said

By Lee Hsin-fang  /  Staff reporter

The government faces competition from South Korea when helping local businesses secure infrastructure contracts in Southeast Asian nations as it pushes the New Southbound Policy, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.

The source, who requested anonymity, said that South Korea has been “ambitiously” preparing plans to win infrastructure construction bids in Southeast Asia for a long time.

Nonetheless, the government has managed to help Taiwanese enterprises land opportunities in Vietnam, the source said, adding that would to soon initiate talks for local corporations to undertake infrastructure construction projects.

India and Myanmar also have plenty of opportunities for Taiwanese companies to build public works, the source said.

Indonesia, which comprises more than 170,000 islands, is seeking to upgrade its shipbuilding industry and has expressed its willingness to collaborate with Taiwanese shipbuilders, the source said.

Meanwhile, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), who oversees implementation of the southbound policy, said that even though the nation faces competition from China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the New Southbound Policy would proceed as intended.

“They do their thing and we will do ours,” Deng said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday during a meeting about the nation’s foreign economy and trade policies said that her administration would create a strategic financing mechanism for the southbound initiative, for which it would initially earmark US$3.5 billion.

The mechanism is to be used to expand collaboration with the nation’s diplomatic allies and help local businesses when bidding for infrastructure projects overseas, Tsai said.

The financing quota set by Tsai could be increased if the need arises, Deng said.

Local enterprises mainly look for opportunities to build harbors, roads and bridges, but other public works could also be profitable, he said.

He cited as an example CTCI Corp’s foray into power plant construction in the region, which he said has gone well.

However, CTCI landed those deals on its own, while the government aims to help local businesses land deals by opening up frontiers for them, Deng said.

A high-ranking official said that public works construction has an estimated market value of NT$8 trillion (US$265.3 billion), and that it would be impossible for Taiwanese firms to monopolize that sum.

Taiwanese businesses can only take a share of the profit and the government is determined to provide them with the necessary funds to do so, the official said.

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