'Taiwan Desk' set up in Manila to encourage investment in the Philippines

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has established a new 'Taiwan Desk' to aid Taiwanese investors in the Philippines

New "Taiwan Desk" at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A new "Taiwan Desk" was set up by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on Tuesday at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Manila to facilitate Taiwanese private investment in the Philippines as part of the government's New Southbound Policy.

The desk, which will provide services in English, Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien and the most widely spoken Philippine language of Tagalog, will advise Taiwanese business people on Philippine investment regulations, taxes, labor, environmental protection affairs, and introduce suitable investment service agencies.

Presiding over the launch ceremony was Taiwan's representative to the Philippines Gary Lin (林松煥) and Nick Ni (倪克浩), head of the economic division of TECO in the Philippines, in Makati City.

Lin said under the New Southbound Policy, ASEAN and South Asian markets have become the focus of overseas investment by Taiwanese businessmen. MOEA has set up the Taiwan Desk in coordination with the executive unit of the accounting firm KPMG to help Taiwan business obtain information and reduce investment risk.

Gary Lin (center) and Nick Ni (right) unveil the new Taiwan Desk at TECO in Manila (CNA photo)

Lin also announced that starting on June 1, Philippine citizens will be granted visa-free access to Taiwan, and this along with the establishment of the Taiwan Desk, Taiwan-Philippine trade, and exchanges in the areas of culture, agriculture, science and technology, will boost relations between the two nations to a new high. 

In 2016, Taiwan was the Philippines' eighth largest trade partner and Manila's 12th largest source of investment, with Taiwanese financiers investing US$32.82 million in the country.

The Philippines' gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.9 percent in 2016, up from 5.8 percent the previous year, while the Philippine government anticipates a growth rate of 6.5-7.5 percent in 2017. 

The country also has an extremely young population, with an average age of only 23.5, indicating a great deal of market growth potential for would-be Taiwanese investors.