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Ex-Philippine vice president calls for close links with Taiwan

2017/10/11 17:49:59

Former Philippine Vice President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr.

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) Former Philippine Vice President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. said Wednesday in a keynote speech during the Yushan Forum that Taiwan and the Philippines should work together for a better future, and promote technology development and economic growth.

In the speech, titled "Let's Help Each Other," Guingona appealed for Taiwanese companies to do their manufacturing in the Philippines and provide technical know-how and also for Taiwan to take advantage of the Philippines' agricultural products and tourism resources.

To Taiwan, the Philippines can serve as a gateway to Asia, because it benefits from preferential tariff systems from the European Union and the United States, making the country's exports more competitive in those markets, Guingona said.

That means that Taiwanese companies manufacturing there can get duty exemptions on exports of about 5,000 products to the U.S. and 6,274 products to the EU for up to 10 years, according to Guingona, who served as Philippine vice president from 2001 to 2004.

Businesses that would benefit would be makers of footwear, headwear, umbrellas, electrical apparatus, bicycles and canned tuna or processed pineapple, he said.

For instance, Taiwanese bicycle brands producing their goods in the Philippines will benefit from lower import duties when their goods are exported to the U.S. and Europe, Guingona said.

He also appealed for help from Taiwan in technology, research and development, design, product development, precision machinery, and tool and dye making.

In agriculture, the former vice president said the Philippines is blessed with products such as coconuts, and extolled the virtue of coconuts, both for its husk as the source of natural fibers and its meat as a source of coconut oil and desiccated coconut.

"We humbly offer this product to Taiwan not only here but also in the Philippines," he said.

He also touted two tourism locations as possible areas of investment for Taiwanese interests -- at Mount Data in central Luzon and Lake Lanao on Mindanao.

Throughout his speech, Guingona described Taiwanese and Filipinos as brothers and sisters and also as close neighbors, and said the two should "build the economic and social life for a better world, for continued happiness."

(By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Evelyn Kao)
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