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International relations

Taiwan makes new push to drum up Southeast Asia investment

'New Southbound Policy' helps region but Taipei could do more, experts say

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is seeking reduce the island's trade dependence on China with her New Southbound Policy of deepening economic ties with 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia. (Nikkei montage/Reuters/AP)

JAKARTA -- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen used her New Year's speech to again touch upon her "New Southbound Policy" (NSP) of deepening economic ties with 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia, an initiative aimed at reducing the island's trade dependence on China.

Launched in 2016, during Tsai's first term in office, the policy comprises four elements: economic and trade cooperation, talent exchanges, resource sharing and regional connectivity. Around 37% of Taiwan's foreign direct investment in the first 11 months of 2021 went to Southeast Asia, compared with around 33% for China, according to Taiwan's Investment Commission.

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