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Taiwan eyeing six percent trade growth with India, bullish on Modi

Taipei, Oct 26 Bullish on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Taiwan, which has no diplomatic ties with India, is pitching for duty concessions from India as the island nation aims to boost bilateral trade with a six percent growth by 2015.

“We are targeting a five to six percent growth in trade with India by next year. We are very keen on boosting trade links with India,” Jen-Ni Yang , director general of Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade, told IANS in this capital city of the east Asian island nation which has only representative status in India as New Delhi officially recognises only the People’s Republic of China (Beijing) as part of its ‘One China” policy.

Yang said Taiwan wants close ties with BRICS – where India, an emerging market, is an important partner. “South Asia, especially India, is very very important to us.”

“The new Indian prime minister seems to be business friendly. He wants India to be a manufacturing hub. Our officers have made multiple trips to India in recent times,” Yang added.

Modi has been exhorting global companies to invest in India and make the country a global manufacturing hub. He launched the ‘Make in India’ campaign September 25, promising easy and effective governance to enable ease of doing business.

Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China and which is a democracy unlike mainland China, is an export-oriented island economy where foreign trade has played a vital role in economic development over the years. Exports alone have accounted for 70 percent of Taiwan’s GDP in recent years.

Yang saw huge trade potential in the food processing sector and also scope for cooperation between academic institutes of the two countries.”We need concessions. We are paying higher rates of taxes than others for our exports. On the other hand, India has an agreement with China and Korea granting them concessions,” he said.

Echoing Yang, the head of Taiwan’s largest private think tank said India’s huge young population and middle income group has made the country a very important market.

“India is a huge market. It is a young country. It has a large middle income group. There is scope for cooperation in the fields of information technology and science,” Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) president David S. Hong told IANS, praising India’s programme in micro-enterprises and micro-finance.

A key area for trade is IT. “In the past, we emphasised too much on hardware. So we are good at hardware manufacturing. But we are short on the service part. We need to improve on this. But you (India) are very strong on software,” Hong said.

Taiwan is looking for new markets and a new manufacturing hub. India can avail itself of Taiwanese investment and build a value-added global manufacturing centre.

Bilateral trade between India and Taiwan has grown from $1.19 billion in 2001 to $6.1 billion in 2013. India’s exports to Taiwan increased from $0.55 billion in 2001 to $2.75 billion in 2013. Similarly, India’s import from Taiwan increased from $0.64 billion to $3.4 billion in the same period.

India is now Taiwan’s 19th largest trade partner with the total trade amounting to $3.4 billion in the first seven months of 2014.

In terms of investments, FDI from Taiwan increased from $0.19 million in 2001 to $9.6 million in 2012. The cumulative FDI from Taiwan stands at $66.47 million.