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Taiwan – A global powerhouse, despite its small size

by Air Times Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR, 16 OCT – Despite its relatively small size, Taiwan (Republic of China) is by no means small in its economic power.

Taiwan’s Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia head of mission Phoebe Yeh sent the strong message that her country mattered in the world.

She said that the Taiwan was a beautiful country, and a success story of economic development and democracy.

“We are the world’s 18th largest trading nation and 21st largest economy.

“The gross domestic product per capita income for Taiwan stands at US$33,000. With 50% of the world’s cargo ships passing through the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan has continued to be an economic powerhouse and world-renowned transit hub in the Asia-Pacific,” said Phoebe.

She added that according to the Swiss-based International Institute for Management Development, Taiwan ranked the 6th most competitive economy in the world.

“Taiwan is well known for its high-tech industries, especially in the semiconductor industry.

“It is No.1 in producing 60% of the world’s chips and 92% of the most advanced ones.

“Taiwan has been and will continue to be a trustworthy partner in the global supply chains,” she said at the ‘112th National Day of the Republic of China’ at the JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Phoebe reflected on what had happened earlier this year, following the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the end of Covid-19, the world is facing an uncertain economic recovery and a dramatically changed international scenario.

“From tackling the pandemic, responding to global economic restructuring to facing regional threats, Taiwan has always dealt with such challenges in a rational and calm way.

“It has also demonstrated a high degree of resilience and shown the international community that Taiwan matters.

“Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system continues to receive international attention by being ranked No. 1 by the Numbeo Health Care Index for five consecutive years,” she said.

She recounted on her arrival in Malaysia last January during the Lunar Chinese New Year, where she was overwhelmed by Malaysia’s beauty, the hospitality of Malaysians and Taiwanese compatriots, and the delicious food.

“I have also witnessed the solid and fast-developing bilateral ties in many aspects,” she said.

Phoebe added that connecting with Asean countries had always been the priority of Taiwan’s foreign policy.

Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), she said was now in its eighth year, and continued to deepen people-centered partnerships.

“Exports to NSP partner countries, including Malaysia, account for an increasing share of Taiwan’s total exports, climbing from 19.4 percent in 2022 to 20.5 percent in the first seven months of this year.

“Taiwan is also deepening personnel exchanges and regional links through various initiatives.

“However, Taiwan has not yet joined some of the trade agreements including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

“Taiwan’s joining will contribute to the regional economic integration and benefit all members,” Phoebe said.

She added that for decades, Taiwan and Malaysia had forged very strong and close relations, especially on trade and investment.

“Taiwan is Malaysia’s 8th largest source of foreign direct investment with accumulation of more than US$14 billion,” Phoebe said.

She named Wistron Technology which earned the ‘Highest Investment in Selangor by a Foreign Company’ award in 2019 and 2021.

Also, she pointed out that Ally Logistic Property was investing in Selangor to develop smart warehousing solutions. Another Taiwan-based information technology infrastructure provider Wiwynn has big projects in the state of Johor.

“Bilateral trade grows tremendously, reaching a historical high of US$36 billion in 2022. Taiwan is Malaysia’s 5th largest trading partner.

“On education and tourism, our strong relationships can be further exemplified. Malaysia remains one of the largest sources of Taiwan’s foreign students.

“For the past seven decades, over 100,000 Malaysians have been pursuing higher education in Taiwan. Currently around 13, 000 Malaysian students are studying in Taiwan,” said Phoebe.

Among Asean countries, Malaysia was Taiwan‘s largest source of tourists.

Taiwan ranked the 3rd most popular tourist destination among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries in the latest Global Muslim Travel Index.

“We believe all stakeholders in this region bear a shared responsibility for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

“To meet the end, we will safeguard our democracy and garner international support. We believe with our resilience and determination, the Republic of China (Taiwan) can survive any difficulties and challenges and will continue to engage with the world,” Phoebe said. – airtimes.my

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