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Delegation promotes New Southbound Policy in Indonesia

MOEA Vice Minister Wang Mei-hua addresses participants during a seminar with Taiwan businesses operating in Indonesia Dec. 15 in Jakarta.

A delegation organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs concluded a three-day visit to Indonesia Dec. 17, forging stronger business and trade ties between Taiwan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations member state.

Led by MOEA Vice Minister Wang Mei-hua, the group also comprised officials from the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Executive Yuan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health and Welfare, as well as representatives from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and state-backed Taiyen Biotech Co.

The delegation held discussions with key officials, business leaders and Jakarta-based Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring them up to speed on government measures under the New Southbound Policy.

A key component of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the policy seeks to deepen agricultural, business, cultural, education, trade and tourism links with ASEAN member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand. The target nations accounted for 18.8 percent of Taiwan’s total trade in the first 11 months of the year.

According to the MOEA’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, both sides agreed to expand collaboration across a number of sectors, including irrigation, salt and sugar production, ship-building, smart campus development and vocational training. Indonesia also proposed initiating cooperation on cattle raising as well as corn and rice cultivation.

During the fact-finding tour, the delegation held a seminar with several Taiwan firms operating in Indonesia to gain a greater appreciation of the local market and how the government can assist those companies in growing their businesses.

The bureau said similar trips will be arranged to other nations in the coming months under the New Southbound Policy, with a focus on ASEAN countries and India.

Two-way trade between Taiwan and Indonesia totaled US$6.46 billion between January and November 2016, the latest statistics released by the Ministry of Finance showed.

Data compiled by the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board reveal that accumulated investment in the Southeast Asian nation by Taiwan enterprises had reached approximately US$17 billion by the end of last year, with the roughly 2,000 Taiwan-owned companies operating in the country creating nearly 1 million jobs. (SFC-E)

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