Taiwan eyes business opportunities in Muslim markets

By Milly Lin and Elizabeth Hsu, Focus Taiwan

Taipei: Attracted by business opportunities in Muslim markets in the Middle East and Central Asia,4111_taipei-halal-logo2 Taiwan is preparing to assist businesses to acquire halal certification and will also take measures to boost exports to secular Turkey.

At a forum held Sunday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the semi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) in Istanbul, Turkey, Economics Minister John Deng led MOEA and TAITRA staff stationed in the Middle East and Central Asia to brainstorm strategies for boosting Taiwan’s exports to those areas.

Also taking part in the discussion, which focused on how to address Taiwan’s weakening exports, were Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni, TAITRA Chairman Francis Liang and TAITRA President and CEO Peter Huang.

They concluded that various strategies must be adopted to help Taiwanese enterprises gain knowledge of the Middle East and Central Asian markets and boost sales, according to the MOEA.

First, the authorities should help companies gain footholds in the massive Muslim markets with halal-certified food products, the ministry said in a statement released Monday.

While machinery products have been Taiwan’s second-largest export to Turkey, TAITRA will set up a club of Turkish buyers of Taiwan-made machinery in Istanbul and organize trade promotion workshops in the country’s second-tier cities.

The institution will put more resources into efforts to promote sales of Taiwanese machinery to Turkey, the statement said.

MOEA statistics show that in 2014, Taiwan’s trade with countries in the Middle East and Central Asia totaled US$48.4 billion, accounting for merely 8.24 percent of its global trade.

In November, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics trimmed its forecast for the country’s gross domestic product growth for 2015 to 1.06 percent, down from an earlier estimate of a 1.56 percent rise, after Taiwan’s exports dropped 10.3 percent in the first 11 months of this year from a year earlier.