Htet Tayza comments on reports which indicate that representatives of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), recently reached out to offer new opportunities to Taiwanese investors.
The first ever Taiwan-ASEAN Strategic Investment Partnership Forum was recently held in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei. During the event, representatives from Singapore Malaysia, Vietnam the Philippines and Thailand spoke to Taiwanese investors about investment opportunities within their respective nations, which the investors might be interested in taking advantage of.
News portal Nation Multimedia reports that the representatives were welcomed to the event by Wang Mei-Hua, Taiwan’s Vice Economic Affairs Minister. During the forum, she pledged that the nation’s government will further develop the ‘New Southbound Policy,’ enhancing economic and trade relations with ASEAN countries in fields such as trade, investment and industrial collaboration.
James Huang, the Head of the New Southbound Policy Office, also spoke with ASEAN representatives. He noted that ASEAN has the seventh largest economy in the world and that each member state’s economy grows at between 5% and 7% per year, presenting major opportunities for Taiwanese investors. ASEAN’s economy is set to keep expanding, according to the Malaysian Second Minister of International Trade, who recently said that it could become the planet’s fourth largest by 2030.
Various representatives spoke specifically on why their nation could appeal to Taiwanese investors. Felicitas Agoncillo-Reyes, the Assistant Secretary for the Philippine Board of Investments’ Investments Promotion Department, made a compelling argument. She noted that unlike many nations, the Philippines does not have an aging problem. It has a young, educated workforce that is largely fluent in English, which could prove advantageous to Taiwanese investors.
Adding further, she suggested that Taiwan’s New Southbound policy and the new Filipino President’s policy can complement each other, making for a lucrative partnership. Do Nhat Hoang, the General Director Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency, made a similar argument. Hoang noting that his country’s large, young workforce makes it a highly competitive prospect for Taiwanese investors.
Taiwan’s New Southbound policy, which aims to promote closer ties between Taiwan and South Asia, could prove lucrative for ASEAN countries. Commenting in April 2016, Huang explained: “The new southbound policy is Taiwan’s new outward-oriented economic strategic plan that puts people at its core… As a five-year plan, [the new government] would be pushing bilateral interaction and cooperation of human resources, industries, investments, education, culture, tourism and agriculture between Taiwan, ASEAN and South Asian nations to build a new partnership with these countries.”
Going further, he noted that “With Taiwan’s geographic position and economic conditions, it could be ASEAN and South Asian nations’ best economic and cultural partner.” The World Economic Forum, a Swiss-based non-profit designed to promote public-private co-operation, ranked Taiwan 15th in its Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016. Therefore by attracting Taiwanese investors, ASEAN member states will be able to generate major economic growth.
Adding further, Huang said that “many nations that might be affected by the policy are also interested in it and have engaged in constructive discussions with us.” This became clear at the Forum, where representatives from countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam strove to assure investors that they have the young, capable workforces necessary to generate strong return on investment. It is clear that ASEAN nations will need to market themselves affectively going further, to ensure they benefit economically from the New Southbound Policy.