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Exports, personnel exchanges improving under New Southbound Policy

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The government's New Southbound Policy is producing early results as Taiwan's exports to the targeted countries in December of 2016 jumped 20.1 percent year-on-year to US$5.37 billion. In particular, exports to the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) showed clear signs of rebounding by soaring 22.9 percent to US$4.72 billion, the Executive Yuan's Office of Trade Negotiations said today.

According to statistics by the Customs Administration of the Ministry of Finance, during the fourth quarter of 2016, exports to all 18 countries targeted by the policy grew on a year-on-year basis for three consecutive months. This increase comes on the back of a global economic recovery and the New Southbound Policy that encourages Taiwanese businesses to tap new markets in ASEAN and South Asian nations.

Regarding personnel exchanges, Ministry of Education statistics show that the number of students from the target countries studying in Taiwan increased 2.1 percent from 28,550 in the 2015 school year to 29,145 in the 2016 school year. The latest figure includes 27,264 students from ASEAN (an increase of 1.9 percent, with Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines all sending more students) and 1,443 from South Asian countries (up by a notable 12.4 percent).

Heading into 2017, government agencies will continue investing more resources under the New Southbound Policy and expanding trade activities to strengthen Taiwan's product marketing capabilities and help businesses find collaboration partners, the office said. To encourage talent exchanges, the government will increase the number of scholarships while promoting Taiwan's tertiary and vocational education systems. Taiwan exhibitions will also be held in major ASEAN cities to showcase the nation's advantages in economics, trade, talent pool and agriculture.

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