This summary was first published on the Journal of Turkish Weekly
|7 November 2013
As part of the the conference series “Asia-Pacific in the 21st Century and Diplomacy”, USAK had the honour to invite Dr. James C.H. CHEN, the Representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission in Ankara, and his wife Maria Chen to speak to an audience of diplomats, businessmen, academics, and other experts about Taiwan-Turkey relations, its successes and areas for improvement.
Taiwan’s democratic and economic progress has been impressive – the island has become one of the most mature democracies in Asia, and it’s per capita Gross Domestic Product (in PPP) matches that of Germany and Belgium. Taiwan is a top producer of IT-related products, producing, for example, 95.6% of the world market share of motherboards.
Taiwan is seeking to improve economic development in its region – 19 economic cooperation agreements have been signed with China since 2010 – and throughout the world, with Turkey being a notable cultural and economic partner. According to Representative Chen, Taiwan could serve as a springboard to mainland China.
Taiwan-Turkey relations have markedly developed in a wide range of areas, from educational and cultural exchanges, to easing visa requirements, to trade ties. Exports to Turkey in 2012 amounted to $1.6 billion, with imports at $200 million. Prime sectors of exports to Turkey are machinery and mechanical appliances (27%), electrical machinery and equipment (22%), iron and steel products (12%), and plastics (10%), which together make up roughly 75% of total exports from Taiwan to Turkey. Imports are predominantly earth/stone/plastering materials (31%), apparel and clothing accessories (11%), and iron and steel (9%). One of the driving forces behind the growing presence of Taiwanese companies in Turkey is its strategic location, political stability, and booming economy.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Mission was established in Ankara in 1993 with the aim of promoting and developing economic, commercial, cultural, agricultural, scientific, and touristic cooperation. The Turkish Trade Office in Taipei also started its work in 1993.
Representative Chen is optimistic about the future of Turkey-Taiwan bilateral relations, and he has hope for postive change, with more cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, cultural and academic exchanges, and tourism.
As the three-year term of Representative Chen and his wife comes to a close, USAK is proud to commemorate their efforts and the achievements of the Turkey-Taiwan relationship.
by Tibor Hargitai
7 November 2013