At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang received a briefing from the Executive Yuan's Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) on the results of the New Southbound Policy.
Since the start of the trade conflict between the U.S. and China last year, neighboring countries have been shifting the focus of their policies to other areas, the premier said. Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, for instance, is a well-timed response to Asia's new political and economic structure, and supports the regional visions of other nations, such as the "Indo-Pacific strategy" advocated by the U.S. and Japan. As a result, Taiwan has seen growing opportunities and potential for cooperation with regional neighbors.
Government agencies are also starting to see the fruit of their work under the New Southbound Policy, the premier continued. He asked the agencies to persist in their efforts to bring the rewards of greater exchanges and resource sharing to
the people of Taiwan and residents of countries targeted by the policy.
The OTN said in its report that the New Southbound Policy is now in its third year of implementation. In bilateral economic and trade exchanges, total trade volume between Taiwan and New Southbound countries grew to US$117.1 billion in 2018, up 22 percent from 2016, while inbound investments from New Southbound countries soared 66 percent from US$230 million in 2016 to US$390 million in 2018. In talent development, which included two-way study abroad programs to promote mutual understanding and cultivate specialists for different fields, the number of Taiwanese students heading to New Southbound nations for academic or internship programs jumped 34.7 percent from 2016 to 2018.
In resource sharing, people from New Southbound nations seeking medical treatment in Taiwan grew from 75,800 visits in 2016 to 154,800 visits in 2018. In regional connections, Taiwan has signed 29 agreements or memoranda of understanding with New Southbound countries since 2016, covering trade, education, environmental protection, science and technology, training for high-level officials, health care, agriculture and other topics.