Approved investment from NSP countries soars over 40% in 2018

TAIPEI (CNA) – The amount of approved investment in Taiwan from countries targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy (NSP) jumped more than 40 percent year-on-year in 2018, according to data released by the Investment Commission under the Ministry of Economic Affairs Monday.

The growth shows the NSP has paid off by strengthening economic ties with countries under the policy and attracting more foreign investment, thereby reducing dependence on China, the commission said.

The 18 countries under the NSP, which was launched by the Democratic Progressive Party government after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, are the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with Australia, New Zealand, and South Asian countries including India.

According to the data, the commission approved a total of US$392 million in investment from NSP countries in Taiwan in 2018, up 43.33 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, growth in approved investment from Thailand, the Philippines and Australia increased 942 percent, 393 percent and 142 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

In terms of the number of deals, the commission approved 643 investment applications from NSP countries in 2018, up 10.86 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

However, the value of approved investment applications from Taiwanese investors in NSP countries fell 34.7 percent from a year earlier to US$2.42 billion with the number of deals up more than 70 percent at 229, the data showed.

The commission said the decline in investment value in NSP countries largely reflected a relatively high comparison base over the previous year, when Formosa Plastics Group secured a green light to invest US$590 million in Formosa Resources Australia PTY Ltd., and silicon wafer maker Globalwafers. Co. was approved to invest US$300 million in Singapore.

In 2018, approved investments from China in Taiwan fell 12.97 percent from a year earlier to about US$230 million, while the number of approved investment applications from Chinese investors hit 141, up about 1 percent from a year earlier, the commission said.

Since Taiwan lifted a ban on investment from China at the end of June 2009, aggregate approved investment has hit US$2.18 billion in 1,228 deals, the data showed.

China-bound investment from Taiwan approved by the commission fell 8 percent from a year earlier to about US$850 million in 2018, the data showed. The commission said it was the fourth consecutive year of decline.

The commission said Taiwanese investors secured approval to invest US$14.29 billion in overseas markets, excluding China, in 2018, up 23.51 percent from a year earlier with the number of the deals up almost 30 percent at 638.

Meanwhile, the amount of approved foreign investments in Taiwan rose 52 percent from a year earlier to US$11.44 billion, the commission added.

By Pan Tzu-yu and Frances Huang