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The time is now for Taiwan to solicit Japanese investment: expert

The time is now for Taiwan to solicit Japanese investment: expert

Taipei, March 4 (CNA) Taiwan is well-positioned to attract investment by private Japanese companies looking to move their operations abroad but should be more active in seizing the opportunity, an economist with the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) said recently. Taiwan is in an advantageous position because of good Taiwan-Japan relations and a highly educated workforce that is competent in technology, Gordon Sun, director of the institute's Macroeconomic Forecasting Center, told CNA in a telephone interview. The Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed by Taiwan and China in June 2010 and an "early harvest" program under the pact that gives preferential tariffs or easier market access to goods and services traded between the two sides are bonuses, he said. But it is still "important for Taiwan to lay out an overall strategy amid the global economic downturn," Sun said, and attracting foreign investment is a crucial part of the approach. He suggested that Taiwan seek cooperation with more of Japan's small and medium-sized enterprises. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said it is planning to lead delegations to Japan to seek more investment in Taiwan. "We are hopeful that Japanese investment in Taiwan can post a double-digit year-on-year increase this year," Kao Jen-kai, deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Investment Services, told CNA. The ministry intends to focus more on the machinery, chemical and service sectors and look for cooperation in the field of digital content, he said, without providing further details. Japan undertook the most investment projects in Taiwan of any foreign country in 2011, with 441 projects valued at about US$445 million, according to government statistics. In February, the ministry revised its goal for foreign investment this year from US$9.2 billion to US$10 billion. (By James Lee)