Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Premier urges aid for SMEs venturing into Southeast Asia

Staff writer, with CNA

Premier William Lai (賴清德) has directed government agencies to step up efforts to build ties with New Southbound Policy countries, including by helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) enter those markets.

Lai issued the directive on Thursday at a cross-agency review of the policy, the Executive Yuan Office of Trade Negotiations said in a statement on Friday.

Initiated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) when she assumed office in May 2016, the policy aims to bolster relations with countries in Southeast and South Asia, Australia and New Zealand, while limiting Taiwan’s economic dependence on China.

Lai urged agencies to focus on helping countries in those regions develop agriculture, public health, and information and telecommunication capabilities, and to help them train business and medical professionals.

In view of the results, countries such as the US and Japan have shown their willingness to team up with Taiwan, he said.

Lai urged the Ministry of Economic Affairs to help SMEs venture into countries covered by the policy, especially those caught in the crossfire of the US-China trade war, including by helping them relocate in clusters to industrial zones developed by Taiwanese enterprises.

Providing professional training is the key to a mutually beneficial relationship, the premier said, asking the Ministry of Education to develop programs focused on sharpening the language skills of students from those countries so that they could blend into Taiwanese society.

Lai told the Council of Agriculture to continue its collaborations with Indonesia and other countries, after Taipei and Jakarta signed an agreement to build an agriculture exhibition area in Indonesia by June.

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