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Taiwanese businesses eye markets in India as China-US trade war takes toll

Hsiao-ying Tsai

Higher tariffs are encouraging companies from the island to look beyond mainland China for market potential

Taiwan is pitching India as a potential business destination for its tech, car, renewable energy and farm sector firms as Washington’s trade war with Beijing pushes the island’s companies to look for newer markets, two officials said on Friday.S More than 10,000 Taiwanese companies, including Apple suppliers Foxconn and Wistron, have massive operations in mainland China, thanks to its tax incentives, organised supply chain and logistics, efficient business parks as well its cultural ties to the island.s

But a trade war between Washington and Beijing has led to higher tariffs on goods worth tens of billions of dollars and disrupted global supply chains, prompting companies to look at other countries to escape higher tariffs.s

“This trade war has encouraged more Taiwanese companies to figure out other options. So India and also other Asean countries are the alternative markets,” Liu Shih-chung, vice-chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, said.s

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is a regional bloc of 10 nations in Southeast Asia, which promotes economic, political and military ties between members.s

Beijing maintains that Taiwan, an island 177km (110 miles) off the Chinese mainland, does not qualify for formal diplomatic ties with any country. And though India has no formal relations with Taiwan, Taipei runs an economic and cultural centre in New Delhi, which operates as a de facto embassy.s

Taiwanese firms were looking to invest in India’s technology, renewable energy, electric vehicle and farm sectors, Liu said.s

“India is among the most important markets, among those 18 new southbound policy countries,” Liu said.s

US-China trade war could squeeze profits of Taiwan’s top companies, S&P says

Taiwan’s southbound policy focuses on strengthening ties in culture, tourism, education and trade with 18 Southeast and South Asian countries.

It has opened four trade offices in India in the last few years and bilateral trade with Asia’s third-biggest economy stood at US$7 billion in 2018.s

Trade between India and Taiwan would likely touch US$10 billion over the next few years, said Tien Chung-kwang, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre.s

Helping that trade were about 120 Taiwanese information and communications technology firms, which were setting up operations in India’s southern technology hub Bangalore, Tien said.These companies have already put in US$100 million,” he said.s

(With Reuters)

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