New Southbound Policy Promotion Plan

  • Date: 2016-10-03
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

A.  Background  
Emerging  markets  in  the  Association  of  Southeast  Asian  Nations  (ASEAN)  and  South  Asian  countries  have  grown  rapidly  as  the  global  supply  chain  undergoes  structural  changes.  Taiwan,  meanwhile,  is  an  important  member  of  the  Asia-Pacific  region  whose  economy  is  closely  bound  with  those  of  many  within  the  region.  In  particular,  ASEAN  has  recently  become  Taiwan’s  second-largest  export  market  and  second-largest  investment  destination,  and  Taiwan’s  relations  with  ASEAN  members  have  expanded  to  technology,  tourism,  education,  labor,  culture  and  other  realms.  

To  meet  the  challenges  of  regional  economic  integration,  the  Executive  Yuan  has  reassessed  Taiwan’s  external  economic  strategy  and  set  forth  the  “New  Southbound  Policy  Promotion  Plan”  based  on  guidelines  announced  by  President  Tsai  Ing-wen.  The  plan  calls  for  the  development  of  comprehensive  relations  with  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  Australia  and  New  Zealand  while  promoting  regional  exchanges  and  collaborations.  The  plan  also  aims  to  build  a  new  model  of  economic  development  for  Taiwan,  reposition  Taiwan  as  an  important  player  in  Asia’s  growth,  and  create  new  value  for  the  future.  

B.  Essence  of  the  New  Southbound  Policy—forge  a  new  and  mutually  beneficial  model  of  cooperation,  create  a  sense  of  economic  community  
Rather  than  unilaterally  setting  up  contract  manufacturing  bases  in  ASEAN  and  South  Asia  as  in  the  past,  Taiwan  will  pursue  bilateral  partnerships  and  expand  exchanges  of  personnel,  capital,  technology,  culture  and  education  with  ASEAN,  South  Asian  states,  Australia  and  New  Zealand.  These  efforts  will  forge  a  new  and  mutually  beneficial  model  of  cooperation  and  ultimately  create  a  sense  of  economic  community.  

C.  Four  main  tasks  
Taiwan  intends  to  settle  in  for  the  long  haul  and  develop  comprehensive  ties  with  18  countries—10  ASEAN  members,  six  South  Asian  countries  as  well  as  Australia  and  New  Zealand.  To  build  strategic  partnerships  that  will  create  regional  prosperity,  the  plan  outlines  four  tasks:  

1.Promote  economic  collaboration:  Forge  new  partnerships  by  integrating  with  those  countries’  supply  chains,  connecting  with  their  domestic  demand  markets,  and  cooperating  on  infrastructure  projects.  

a.Supply  chains:  Taiwan  will  support  the  industrial  capacities  and  demands  of  partner  countries  through  the  five  major  innovative  industries  it  is  currently  developing.  For  instance,  Taiwan  can  export  or  help  set  up  internet-of-things  systems  for  such  applications  as  electronic  toll  collection,  smart  health  care  and  intelligent  school  campuses.  The  government  will  also  set  up  a  “Taiwan  Desk”  in  those  countries  to  gather  local  resources  and  help  overseas  Taiwanese  enterprises  form  business  clusters.  In  Taiwan,  a  single  window  for  southbound  economy  and  trade  expansion  will  be  established  as  a  platform  for  seeking,  creating,  integrating  and  promoting  bilateral  trade  opportunities.  

b.Domestic  demand  markets:  Use  cross-border  electronic  and  physical  distribution  channels  to  sell  quality  and  affordable  products.  Export  new  service  industries  including  education,  health,  medical  care  and  dining.  Shape  Taiwan’s  industrial  brand  image.  

c.Infrastructure  projects:  Create  a  collaborative  platform  for  exporting  infrastructure  construction  services  and  turnkey  projects.  Form  export  teams  on  energy,  petrochemical  and  environmental  infrastructure.  Build  strategic  alliances  with  third-country  service  providers.  

2.Conduct  talent  exchange:  With  a  focus  on  people,  deepen  bilateral  exchange  and  cultivation  of  young  scholars,  students  and  industry  professionals.  Share  and  complement  human  resources  with  partner  countries.  

a.Education  ties:  Expand  scholarships  to  draw  more  students  from  ASEAN  and  South  Asia.  Depending  on  Taiwan’s  industrial  needs,  create  courses  on  academia-industry  cooperation  and  foreign  youth  technical  training,  and  provide  job  matching  services  after  their  graduation.  Encourage  universities  and  colleges  to  set  up  campuses  or  courses  abroad  or  preparatory  programs.  Offer  elementary  and  junior  high  school  language  courses  for  new  immigrants,  and  encourage  universities  and  colleges  to  cultivate  more  Southeast  Asian  language  experts  and  regional  trade  professionals.  

b.Industry  talent:  Establish  a  points-based  system  allowing  residency  extensions  for  eligible  foreign  professional  or  technical  workers  in  Taiwan,  and  encourage  them  to  obtain  job  skills  training  and  professional  certification.  Promote  a  two-way  flow  of  professionals,  streamline  procedures  for  foreign  workers  coming  to  Taiwan,  and  match  them  to  local  companies.  

c.New  immigrants:  Help  first-generation  immigrants  use  their  linguistic  and  cultural  advantages  to  obtain  work  certification  and  job  opportunities  (such  as  language  teaching  and  tourism-related  work).  Help  second-generation  immigrants  connect  with  their  ancestral  countries  by  encouraging  universities  to  establish  appropriate  departments  or  curriculums,  and  give  admission  priority  to  students  speaking  Southeast  Asian  languages.  

3.Share  resources:  Capitalize  on  Taiwan’s  soft  powers  to  promote  bilateral  and  multilateral  cooperation  in  culture,  tourism,  medical  care,  technology,  agriculture,  and  small  and  medium-sized  enterprises.  Improve  quality  of  life  in  partner  countries  and  expand  Taiwan’s  economic  footprint.  

a.Health  care:  Cooperate  with  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  New  Zealand  and  Australia  on  bilateral  pharmaceutical  certifications  and  new  drug  and  medical  equipment  development.  Help  ASEAN  and  South  Asia  cultivate  medical  care  and  public  health  workers.  

b.Culture:  Use  film,  broadcasting  and  online  games  to  market  Taiwan’s  cultural  brand.  Encourage  Taiwan’s  local  governments  to  engage  in  intercity  exchanges  and  cooperation  with  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  New  Zealand  and  Australia.  

c.  Tourism:  Ease  visa  requirements  for  ASEAN  and  South  Asian  tourists  to  Taiwan.  Promote  Taiwan  tourism  through  multiple  channels,  raise  the  quality  and  quantity  of  tour  guides,  and  create  a  Muslim-friendly  travel  environment.  

d.Technology:  Build  technology  exchange  platforms,  strengthen  international  connections  at  Taiwan’s  science  parks  and  research  institutes,  and  promote  exchanges  in  smart  disaster  prevention  technologies.  

e.Agriculture:  Establish  a  “Taiwan  international  agricultural  development  company”  to  increase  exports  of  agricultural  products  and  materials.  Provide  agricultural  technology  assistance,  expand  use  of  biomaterials  and  agricultural  machinery,  and  improve  the  business  capabilities  of  partner  countries.  

4.Forge  regional  links:  Systematize  bilateral  and  multilateral  cooperation  with  partner  countries  while  strengthening  negotiations  and  dialogue.  Draw  on  the  collective  strength  of  private  groups,  overseas  Taiwanese  networks  and  third  countries.  Advance  regional  safety  and  prosperity.  

a.Regional  integration:  Actively  pursue  economic  cooperation  agreements  or  individual  economic  cooperation  provisions  with  India  and  major  ASEAN  trade  partners.  Update  and  strengthen  current  bilateral  investment  and  taxation  treaties.  Improve  risk  management  by  creating  major  event  alert  and  emergency  response  mechanisms.  

b.Negotiations  and  dialogue:  Promote  multilevel  and  all-encompassing  negotiations  and  dialogue  with  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  New  Zealand  and  Australia.  Open  dialogue  and  negotiations  with  China  at  a  suitable  time  on  relevant  topics  and  cooperation  matters.  

c.Strategic  alliances:  Reallocate  foreign  aid  resources,  build  a  comprehensive  foreign  aid  mechanism,  and  expand  Taiwanese  companies’  participation  in  local  development  projects  in  other  countries.  Strengthen  official  and  nonofficial  cooperation  platforms  between  Taiwan  and  Japan,  set  up  a  Taiwan-Singapore  economic  and  trade  cooperation  platform,  and  join  third  countries  in  tapping  markets  in  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  New  Zealand  and  Australia.  

d.Overseas  Taiwanese  networks:  Create  an  overseas  Taiwanese  database  and  exchange  platform  (including  for  foreign  graduates  of  Taiwan  universities,  Taiwanese  businesses  operating  abroad,  and  overseas  ethnic  Chinese).  Connect  with  overseas  ethnic  Chinese  and  overseas  Taiwanese  business  networks  and  strengthen  their  links  with  companies  in  Taiwan.  

D.Conclusion  
The  New  Southbound  Policy  constitutes  an  important  plank  in  Taiwan’s  external  economic  strategy.  Built  around  the  core  concepts  of  long-term  exploration,  multipronged  development  and  mutual  benefit,  the  promotion  plan  will  integrate  the  resources  and  strengths  of  central  government  agencies,  local  governments  and  private  companies  and  organizations.  By  linking  resources,  talent,  markets  and  technologies  with  ASEAN,  South  Asia,  Australia  and  New  Zealand,  Taiwan  will  create  a  new  model  of  economic  development  and  help  drive  growth  and  prosperity  for  the  entire  region.