Taiwan firms urged to take part in EBRD infrastructure projects

Taipei, March 1 (CNA) Taiwanese companies should grasp more business opportunities in infrastructure projects supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank's consultant said Friday. No Taiwanese companies have submitted tenders to work on EBRD's infrastructure projects since the bank's establishment in 1991, said Bill Huang, a senior consultant at the European Bank's Office of the Secretary General. Taiwan, the largest bilateral donor to the EBRD in 2011, has long-standing cooperation with the EBRD, he said, but added that Taiwanese companies have focused only on the fields of information and communications technology, sustainable energy and financial services. "It is a good time for Taiwan to get more involved in the infrastructure field, especially for management and control," Huang told CNA on the sidelines of a seminar titled "Building Central Asia with EBRD." There have been several infrastructure projects taking place in Central Asia, whose construction cost could reach millions and billions of U.S. dollars, he added. "Taiwanese companies can give it a try and may become prestigious in the circle, which can lead to more business opportunities," Huang said. However, a local consultancy company owner highlighted real problems, such as a language barrier and a lack of mutual understanding, in such dealings. Eugene Chen, managing director of Grand Aspect International Co., told CNA that although the EBRD and local companies have gained better understanding of each other in recent years, "there is still a lot to do (for the Taiwan government)." Since his company got approved by the EBRD five years ago, he said, the cases he got from the bank have been "pitifully few." "The Taiwanese government should provide local companies more support and help match more business," Chen said. (By James Lee)