On December 2, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs named Chennai, the fourth largest city in India and a key information communications technology hub, as the location for Taiwan’s second representative office on the subcontinent. This welcome development comes at a time when ties between the two nations are going from strength to strength, further underscoring the value of viable diplomacy as championed by ROC President Ma Ying-jeou.
Greenlighted by the Indian government in October after two years of negotiations, the office represents a breakthrough for the Ma administration in its efforts to expand Taiwan’s economic and cultural clout with a rising global economic power. Although the MOFA is playing its cards close to its chest as to the opening date, sources familiar with the matter expect the facility to be up and running in the first quarter of next year.
Much like the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi, the office will assist Taiwan businesses, tourists and students but with a focus on Southern India. This mission makes sense as the region is rapidly becoming a major center for Taiwan-headquartered companies operating in India.
The links between Chennai and Taiwan also encompass TAITRONICS India, the largest overseas trade show staged for the island’s electronics sector by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). Established in 2007, the showpiece event chalked up US$18.2 million in contracts at last year’s edition, a three-fold increase from 2009.
A key component of the push to enlarge this potential laded relationship took effect in August. The bilateral customs pact streamlines clearance procedures and enhances trade security, allowing for the establishment of an information exchange system that makes it easier for both countries to clamp down on tariff evasion and smuggling.
The agreement also contains provisions for negotiating a preferential tariff arrangement and serves as a steppingstone for Authorized Economic Operator Companies—entities complying with supply chain standards under the World Customs Organization—to cut import processing costs. This is of great benefit to Taiwan exporters and will help deepen their involvement in global trade.
Another noteworthy Taiwan-India development took place in the same month when a pact abolishing double taxation came into force. Covering business and personal income, the agreement lets investors pay tax only in the country where they maintain long-term bases of operation.
As Taiwan-India relations continue to strengthen, both sides can look forward to broader economic and cultural exchanges. This win-win outcome will be a boon for bilateral cooperation, forging a lasting partnership for prosperity on the global stage.