TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Chinese-owned Forbes has listed Taiwan 12th on its list of the Best Countries for Business for 2019 and credited Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) New Southbound Policy for increasing Taiwan's exports.
At the top of its 13th annual list was the United Kingdom, followed by Sweden, Hong Kong, Netherlands, and New Zealand rounding out the top five. At 12th place, Taiwan edged out a number of impressive competitors, such as Germany (14th), South Korea (16th), the United States (17th), Japan (19th), and France (21st), to name a few.
In Asia, Taiwan only trailed economic rivals Hong Kong and Singapore as the third-best country for business within the region.
Forbes determines its list by rating 161 nations on 15 factors which are weighed equally, including: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, infrastructure, market size, political risk, quality of life, workforce, freedom (personal, trade, and monetary), red tape, and investor protection.
In its report on Taiwan, the magazine credited Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's New Southbound Policy initiative, as well as talks over joining the Trans-Pacific Partnerships and bilateral trade deals, for increasing Taiwan's total exports by 11 percent in 2017. The report also said that Tsai's progress in boosting trade with South and Southeast Asia could help shield Taiwan from a drop in demand from China if growth in the communist country slows.
The report also listed Taiwan's trade surplus with major economies such as the U.S. and China, as well as its foreign reserves, which are the fifth largest in the world, as major strengths. The magazine listed the country's aging population, low fertility rate, heavy reliance on exports, diplomatic isolation, and increasing competition from China as major, long-term challenges.