Taiwan's Foreign Minister, Jaushieh Joseph Wu, expressed Taiwan's strong interest in expanding ties with India. He emphasized that Taiwan has an "enormous appetite" for collaboration and highlighted the need to finalize a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Wu revealed that Taiwan has been actively encouraging its companies, which find the Chinese market less profitable, to relocate their production facilities to India. Recognizing India's status as a rising power with rapid economic growth, Wu believes that the FTA would facilitate increased trade and investment by allowing Taiwanese companies to establish manufacturing bases in India without incurring high tariffs on equipment and raw materials.
Taiwan's Significance in Semiconductor Production and India's Interest
Taiwan is a major player in semiconductor production, accounting for nearly 70% of the world's semiconductors and over 90% of advanced chips used in various electronic devices. India, recognizing Taiwan's expertise in this sector, has expressed keen interest in hosting manufacturing facilities for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), the world's largest chipmaker and a supplier to Apple. Wu highlighted the potential for semiconductor cooperation between Taiwan and India, emphasizing the support from the leadership of both countries.
FTA Negotiations and Future Bilateral Relations
Taipei has conveyed to New Delhi its readiness to initiate FTA negotiations, following prior studies and preliminary discussions. Wu emphasized that the FTA would serve as a significant encouragement for Taiwanese companies to invest in India, considering the relief it would provide in terms of tariffs on equipment and related materials. He expressed optimism about the strengthening trade relations between India and Taiwan and pledged continued efforts to enhance bilateral ties. Wu also emphasized the importance of international support, particularly from federal democracies, in countering Chinese military threats and economic coercion faced by Taiwan.
Expanding Cooperation and Areas of Focus
Wu highlighted the recent upswing in trade, investment, people-to-people connections, and cultural ties between Taiwan and India. He mentioned the fascination of the Taiwanese people with Indian movies and expressed a desire to explore various areas of cooperation. Wu commended India's achievements in the space sector and expressed interest in collaborating with India in this field. He also identified parliamentary engagement and increased government-to-government interaction as priorities for fostering closer political ties. Furthermore, he emphasized India's interest in the semiconductor industry and Taiwan's intention to work with the Indian government to materialize the FTA.
China's Stance and Tensions with Taiwan
China continues to assert that Taiwan is a breakaway province that must be reunified with the mainland, even by force if necessary. It has regularly dispatched fighter jets into Taiwan's air defense zone and deployed warships in proximity to the self-governed island. Taiwan seeks international support to counter the Chinese military threat and economic pressure and considers its relations with India crucial in this regard.