Representative Nettleton of British Office Taipei recently visited Taichung City Mayor Lin Chia-Lung to learn about Taichung’s urban and industrial development, as well as to discuss the development of renewable energy, digital culture, museum planning and inter-city exchange. Mayor Lin said that Taiwan shares a close relationship with the UK, and both parties may increase exchange and collaboration in various fields via inter-city exchange; Representative Nettleton invited Mayor Lin to visit the UK to further deepen inter-city exchange.
Economic Development Bureau Deputy Director Li Yi-An, Transportation Bureau Deputy Director Feng Hui-Sheng, and Low-Carbon Office Chief Executive Wang Yueh-Pin joined Mayor Lin to welcome Representative Catherine Nettleton of British Office Taipei (who assumed office towards the end of last year), Head of Political Affairs Mark Fletcher, and Section Chief of Political Affairs Lai Yu-Shen, to discuss future potential exchange and collaboration between Taichung and the UK. After the meeting, Mayor Lin gifted Representative Nettleton a lacquered box of pastries printed with a Taiwan Cherry motif. Representative Nettleton reciprocated with a gift box of tea representing the British culture.
Mayor Lin commented that Taichung’s manufacturing industry is primarily based on precision machinery and machine tooling, which applies to more than ten industry clusters such as the bicycle, aviation, sports equipment, service design and optics industries; Taichung can be said to be the most heavily-invested region in Taiwan. The City Government has also been actively promoting the development of a smart city – the Shuinan International Convention and Exhibition Center was one of the five spots designated by the Central Government to pilot the use of automated vehicles, and it is conceivable that the innovative services provided by Taichung as a smart city will bring many investment opportunities in future.
Taichung hosted its first ‘South Asia Business Day’ this September, attracting buyers from India and other countries to conduct one-to-one purchasing negotiations with local manufacturers, creating roughly 50 million US dollars’ worth of business opportunities. The value of the annual output of Taichung’s hand-tool industry is around 100 billion NTD; within 3 days of the exhibition, the industry had already secured about 25 billion NTD worth of business transactions. The success of this event has led the City Government to plan the development of the local convention and exhibition industry. Consequently, the City Government and the Central Government will co-fund the 10 billion NTD cost of building the Shuinan International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Mayor Lin also said that, since urban diplomacy and regional economics can bring about tangible exchange and benefits, inter-city exchange could be a means of increasing exchange and collaboration across different fields, such as the close inter-city exchanges between Taichung and various cities in Japan that involve collaborations not just limited to the City Mayors and City Governments, but also includes Parliaments, businesses, educational institutions, sightseeing and culture.
Representative Nettleton of British Office Taipei said that the economic vitality of Taichung has resulted in an influx of people to the city. Taichung is currently the second most populated city in Taiwan. Many British enterprises including Standard Chartered Bank have expanded here. As the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and the 5+2 Industrial Transformation Plan coincides with the industries that the UK seeks to develop, it is hoped that both parties will build upon existing cooperation to create more opportunities for development in the fields of transportation, aviation, digital infrastructure and renewable energy.
A high-tech British delegation will be visiting Taichung in February next year to learn about the development of local industries while seeking opportunities for cooperation. Furthermore, Taichung has been given the green light for many railway projects under the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program; the UK has a wealth of experience in building railways, MRTs and LRTs, and hopes to lend their support and assistance to these projects. Also anticipated is the opportunity for exchange and collaboration between museums, as well as the preservation and reuse of cultural assets. She agrees that inter-city exchange is an ideal way for both parties to expand their collaborative partnership across many fields. The issue will be further examined, and Mayor Lin was invited to visit the UK.
Mayor Lin also mentioned that the Industrial Development and Investment Promotion Committee of Taichung City has a corporate membership of over one thousand; both parties may establish windows of contact to organize events in the form of meetings, forums or investment conferences, in order to foster business opportunities via industrial collaboration and exchange.