MANILA - Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Taiwan will stay strong and climb 30 percent over the next 3 years, Minister James Chu of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said Thursday.
"Our economic structure can be complimentary, there will be more opportunities in the future," Chu told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of the 25th Metro Manila Business Conference.
Chu said the Philippines grew nearly 7 percent this year, which he described as "eye-catching."
In 2016, bilateral trade between the two totaled $10.8 billion, with Taiwan as the Philippines' 8th largest trading partner.
Chu also cited Taiwan’s new "Southbound Policy," initiated by President Tsai Ing Wen, which aims to enhance cooperation and exchanges between Taiwan and Southeast Asian nations and other neighboring countries. Chu said the Philippines is a “prioritized” country.
“I think the challenge quite frankly is to enhance mutual understanding between the two. Geographically, the Philippines and Taiwan are very close but I don’t think people understand very well.”
Taiwan is just 218 kilometers from the northernmost island of Batanes province.