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Taiwan makes new push for New Southbound Policy

2017/09/03 14:32:54

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) The government is planning to renew bilateral investment agreements (BIA) with six Southeast Asian countries as part of its push for its New Southbound Policy, Minister without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said Sunday.

A BIA between Taiwan and the Philippines is expected to be renewed by the end of this year, according to Deng, who is also chief representative of the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Executive Yuan.

Deng said that Taiwan has established BIAs with eight of the 18 countries targeted by the policy, which is aimed at forging closer economic ties with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), countries in South Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The eight countries are Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Singapore and New Zealand, according to Deng.

Among them, Singapore and New Zealand have signed free trade agreements with Taiwan, while the BIAs between Taiwan and the six other countries have been in place for a long time, with some even more than 20 years old, Deng noted, adding that the government is making plans to negotiate the renewal of these agreements.

Deng said that the government's plan to earmark over NT$100 billion (US$3.3 billion) to help Taiwanese businesses undertake public construction projects in countries covered by the New Southbound Policy has nothing to do with "dollar diplomacy."

Rather, the money will be used to help Taiwanese enterprises seek business opportunities in the countries targeted by the policy, Deng added.

Deng was responding to a United Daily News editorial Sunday that said the government is re-initiating "dollar diplomacy," with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) recently unveiling a plan for the government to set up a strategic financing mechanism that will initially allocate US$3.5 billion to fund enterprises to engage in cooperation projects with the policy's target countries.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)