Premier pushes New Southbound policy

Premier Lin Chuan is calling for closer trade ties with countries targeted by the government's New Southbound policy. The policy is aimed at promoting closer economic and cultural ties with Southeast Asian countries, as well as India, Australia and New Zealand.

Lin spoke at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, close to the one-year anniversary of the policy's announcement. Cabinet spokesperson Hsu Kuo-yung spoke on behalf of the premier.

Hsu said, The New Southbound policy is a very important government project. We must be practical in promoting it. This is especially true in the strengthening of trade relations and regional cooperation, and exchanges of human resources. Every ministry will need to plan and work with the office of economic and trade negotiations to implement these plans.

At the meeting, minister without portfolio John Deng said trade with Southeast Asian countries had grown 7.5% from May 2016 to March 2017. Deng said state-run firms have increased investment in Southeast Asia and corporate banks have also set up more branches in the region.

Deng also said that tourism from Southeast Asia is up 30% so far this year due to easier visa applications. He said the government has also made effort to set up halal service centers and certified halal restaurants for tourists who are Muslim.

Source: Radio Taiwan International