Sat, Jun 01, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Looking south is successful: Tsai

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday said that the New Southbound Policy, aimed at enhancing cooperation with Southeast Asian and South Asian nations, as well as Australia and New Zealand, has yielded good results.

At a forum on the policy, Tsai said that the international political situation has changed significantly over the past three years since the policy was launched.

The increasing geopolitical and economic importance of the nations targeted by the policy has prodded the US, Japan, South Korea and India to introduce new regional strategies, she said, adding that this shows that it is a vision-oriented and forward-looking policy.

The policy is an important strategy that promotes a new model of economic development for the nation and reduces its reliance on a single market, Tsai said, adding that she hopes Taiwan would forge more comprehensive and diverse strategic partnerships with the policy’s target nations through exchanges and cooperation on trade, technology, culture, tourism and education.

The implementation of the policy has gradually shown good results, Tsai said, citing figures that showed two-way trade with the policy’s target nations reached US$100 billion last year, up 22 percent from 2016, while inbound investment by target nations increased by more than 60 percent from 2016 to last year.

The government has also updated its bilateral investment protection agreements with the Philippines and India over the past three years to protect the interests of Taiwanese businesses in those nations, she said.

The revenue of the largest 1,000 overseas Taiwanese businesses in target nations has reached NT$3.6 trillion (US$113.88 billion), with their combined profit breaching NT$100 billion, Tsai said.

Last year, the number of people from target nations who visited Taiwan for medical treatment exceeded 150,000, accounting for 40 percent of international patients visiting Taiwan, up 50 percent from 2016, she added.

The policy has boosted person-to-person exchanges, Tsai said, adding that the number of travelers from target nations visiting Taiwan rose from 910,000 in 2016 to 1.44 million last year, while the number of students and people enrolling on training courses from the target nations increased from 32,000 to 52,000 over the same period.

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