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Cabinet approves work plan for New Southbound Policy

The New Southbound Policy work plan was finalized by the Cabinet Dec. 14, specifying a series of policy directions, objectives and tasks that aim to add new momentum to Taiwan’s economic development, create future value and reposition the nation as a key player in the region.

According to the Executive Yuan’s Office of Trade Negotiations, the body responsible for New Southbound Policy general planning and coordination, the work plan sets out concrete measures across four main focus areas: economic and trade cooperation, talent exchanges, resource sharing and regional connectivity. The various projects will be implemented by 20 ministries and agencies beginning January next year.

A core component of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the New Southbound Policy seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.

As detailed in the work plan, the priorities in the area of economic and trade cooperation include strengthening collaboration on industrial development, infrastructure projects and trade expansion, promoting exports of system integration services, and providing financial support to local firms seeking to expand their presence in the target markets.

On talent exchanges, the government will adopt a people-centric approach to deepening and diversifying bilateral cooperation on the cultivation of young scholars, students and industry professionals.

With regard to resource sharing, Taiwan will work to foster partnerships and explore opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation with target countries using the nation’s strengths in agriculture, culture, medical care, technology and tourism.

In terms of regional connectivity, the goals include institutionalizing bilateral and multilateral cooperation as well as elevating the official status of two-way negotiations and dialogues in order to pursue economic cooperation agreements.

The New Southbound Policy was unveiled by Tsai in her inauguration address May 20. Policy guidelines for the initiative were formally approved during a meeting on economic and trade strategy convened by the president Aug. 16. (SFC-E)

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