Bernardo M. Villegas
Recent Articles
Northbound Policy (Part 2)
published: Feb 26, 2018

Northbound Policy (Part 1)
published: Feb 19, 2018

Prudence in Engaging With China
published: Feb 13, 2018

  Page last updated at 05:40 CST6CDT, Friday, 02 March 2018 PH
Northbound Policy (Part 2)
           Under the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan launched in 2016 its “New Southbound Policy” (NSP).  The rationale for this policy is to contribute to regional development and forge closer socioeconomic and people-to-people exchanges with Southeast Asian (ASEAN) and South Asian countries, as well as with Australia and New Zealand.  Over the last twenty years, Taiwanese investments were mainly concentrated in China during the heyday of Chinese explosive growth.  In fact, despite the political tension between the “two Chinas”, it was very notable that the biggest foreign investors in China during the high-growth years were the Taiwanese.  It is well known that China is now slowing down and wages have soared, removing the former incentives for labor-intensive industries to locate in China.  In fact, because of the one-child policy followed in the past, China is already suffering some of the problems of rapid ageing and labor shortages that exist in more developed economies.  With the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) achieving greater economic integration and presenting to the rest of the world a total consumer market of some 650 million, it makes sense that investors from the rest of the world, especially from the developed territories of Northeast Asia, will take greater interest in the AEC.  In fact, in the 50th Anniversary meeting of the ASEAN leaders held in the Philippines last November 2017, many of our neighbors in the Asia Pacific region were competing with one another to be included in the AEC + 1 arrangement.  Taiwan has the great advantage of being closest geographically to the ASEAN among the Northeast Asian economies.  And was noted above, it has a greater variety of experiences to share with the ASEAN nations (e.g. infrastructures, agribusiness, export-driven policies, and quality and quantity of higher education students).