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Talk of the day -- Mutually beneficial Taiwan-Japan cooperation

2012/08/28 20:47:45

A Taiwanese economic delegation is currently visiting Japan to push for trade cooperation between the two countries. Headed by Vice Economics Minister Francis Liang, the group of business leaders and government officials includes former Vice President Vincent Siew, serving as the top adviser to the delegation.

Before setting off for the five-day trip Aug. 26, Siew, who was economics minister from 1990-1993, initiated the idea of establishing a "golden triangle" between Taiwan, China and Japan to create benefits for all three parties.

Siew said that as Taiwan has strong manufacturing skills and Japan has greater technological expertise, the two countries should consider financial cooperation and mutual investment in these two sectors.

Thanks to the Taiwan-China Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, Taiwan is an ideal gateway for Japanese companies to expand their operations in China, he said.

The pitch for cooperation between Taiwanese and Japanese enterprises was highlighted by a high-profile plan by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's biggest contract electronics maker, to buy a stake in the struggling Japanese television maker Sharp.

Upon his arrival in Tokyo Monday, where he joined the delegation, Hon Hai Precision Chairman Terry Gou told reporters that the decision to seek partnership with Sharp is simply a microcosm of broader Taiwan-Japan cooperation.

The following are excerpts of reports by two leading business newspapers in Taiwan on the international business cooperation initiative:

Commercial Times:

Siew said the recent political tension between Japan and China over sovereignty of the disputed Tiaoyutai Islands in the East China Sea has created a new opportunity for Taiwan to attract investment from Japanese businesses that want to make inroads into the Chinese market via Taiwan.

Siew said Japanese businesses will not give up the vast Chinese market because of the Tiaoyutais issue and he contended that their best and lowest-risk option is to enter the market with the help of Taiwanese companies.

The cooperation model would be best for all parties concerned, he said.

According to Gou, Taiwan is "the best choice" if Japan wants to look for a cooperation partner.

The Hon Hai chief explained that what brought Japanese consumer electronic product makers to a dead end are high taxes, an expensive Japanese yen, a slow pace in developing new products and a lack of software.

None of these problems are easy to resolve, he said.

Japan can fix the problems on its own, cooperate with South Korea, or build industrial alliances with other countries, he went on, adding that from the military, technical and geographic perspectives, Taiwan is the best choice for Japan.

Economic Daily News:

During a luncheon with Japan's Dietmen's Alliance for Japan-ROC Relations, Siew threw out a pitch for the formation of a "golden triangle" between Taiwan, Japan and China.

Taiwan and Japan share a complementary and mutually beneficial relationship, he said.

Japan enjoys competitiveness in the fields of technology, management and branding, while Taiwan is flexible and strong in marketing to Chinese communities. Combining the advantages of the two countries would equate to "one plus one being greater than two," he said.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)