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Taiwan can be hub for international trade: US official

2017/11/17 23:21:25

Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) A visiting official from the United States said Friday that small enterprises in the U.S. and Taiwan should work together to create joint ventures and mentor-protégé programs to leverage digital trade in overseas markets.

Eugene Cornelius, deputy associate administrator for the Office of International Trade with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), said in a joint media interview that he has discussed the possibility of cooperation with Taiwan and received a lot of support for the idea.

Cornelius, who is on an eight-day visit to Taiwan that started on Nov. 11, said his talks with accelerators, policymakers, and people in the economic development sector in Taiwan have revolved around three pillars.

The first is to create an innovation ecosystem that "allows for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to be a creative part of an economy," Cornelius said.

The second, he said, was to make the ecosystem "inclusive."

Citing the fast-growing category of SMEs led by women, Cornelius said of the ecosystem that there should be "no unconscious biases and things that may prohibit or present a burden to women entrepreneurs coming into the high-tech, high-growth innovative economy."

The third pillar is to leverage digital trade to make sure that small businesses are effective in the global economy, Cornelius said.

"When small enterprises export, they tend to have higher wages, create more jobs and have more effects on our GDP. They will increase quality of lives and they will contribute more to our community," Cornelius said.

Cornelius said he has discussed during his stay how the U.S. and Taiwan can collaborate with each other based on their respective strengths under the three pillars.

One of the things that gained traction very quickly in the discussions "was the strength of hardware here in Taiwan and the strength of software in the U.S.," he said.

Cornelius said they have seen a possibility of collaboration to "create joint ventures and mentor protégé and joint venture agreements and the like" through small businesses forums and round-table discussions.

His discussions have also looked at how they can take the three pillars to promote and stay within the guidelines of what Taiwan has taken on with "five plus two" industrial innovation development program and the "New Southbound Policy."

"We believe that Taiwan can be a hub for international trade, particularly going toward the Southeast Asia market," Cornelius said.

Cornelius praised Taiwan for its development of a skilled workforce, innovation, infrastructure, technology, and quality of university education.

Given that innovation is where the economy is going, if Taiwan can stop its brain drain, the digital economy will provide Taiwan a golden opportunity for its entrepreneurs and economic growth, Cornelius said.

Asked how he would advise small businesses in the U.S. to expand their businesses in Taiwan, Cornelius said that "there is a wealth of knowledge here, the infrastructure is very supportive of doing business here, and there is logistically a location advantage."

If small businesses in U.S. are going to expand in international trade into the Southeast and South Asia markets, "they can look at Taiwan as a place to start."

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)