Taiwan building ties with India to shake off dependence on China

Taiwan officials and manufacturers in the country are encouraging business to follow their lead

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The Indian flag (Image by Pexels)

The Indian flag (Image by Pexels)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan External Trade Development Council Chairman James Huang (黃志芳) has said India is the “jewel” in Taiwan’s new economic strategy, according to Financial Times.

The newspaper reports there are signs Taiwan is channeling its economic focus on India in order to break free of the chains created by years of increasing economic dependence on China.

Huang said industrial subsidies offered by the Indian government, coupled with the country’s highly-skilled, low-cost labor force makes it a perfect site for Taiwanese electronic manufacturing. Financial Times reports Huang also commented favorably on New Delhi’s target GDP growth of eight to ten percent.

Although Tsai Ing-wen and her administration are diligently pursuing a shift in economic relations to Southeast Asian nations involved in the New Southbound Policy, India’s larger economy and population, which is set to overtake China’s by 2022, make it an invaluable target partner that could be Taiwan’s savior from falling under the reins of Beijing, if domestic political changes occur.

China is still, by far, Taiwan’s biggest trading partner and the country, together with Hong Kong, received US$130.4 billion in exports from Taiwan in 2017—41 percent of the country’s total exports.

China has used this fact to create political leverage over Taiwan. The country’s huge market and previously flourishing economy attracted a substantial amount of Taiwanese businesses in the past that felt the brunt of its force when any political dissensions occurred.

As China’s economy has begun to slow, however, Beijing has sought new tactics to expand its influence, including currying support from local and municipal level figures who are more open to partnerships with Chinese businesses and authorities.

Financial Times concedes Taiwan would be starting from a small base in India. Although larger corporations, such as Foxconn, have employed workers across the nation for years, fewer than 100 Taiwanese businesses operate there currently, the report states.

The report states Taiwanese wheelchair manufacturer Karma, based in the country, is encouraging other small and medium enterprises to follow suit, however, saying that it has seen revenue increases each year of between 25 and 30 percent.