COSCO sets up shop in Taiwan
The COSCO Group on Sunday established a representative office in Taiwan to better coordinate with its island counterparts to jointly explore international markets.
It's the first agency set up by a mainland state-owned shipping company on Taiwan, and another sign that political tensions between Beijing and Taipei have cooled in favor of improved economic ties.
“The representative office is just the first step,' said Wei Jiafu, COSCO president and chief executive officer. 'Our next goal is to set up a branch in Taiwan.”
The agency is not allowed to conduct business transactions at present, so the three-member office will be engaged in getting better in touch with the island’s business circles and seeking more business opportunities, COSCO said in a statement.
Wei said COSCO’s establishment of the office on the island was not intended to lure market share in Taiwan away from the island's home carriers, like Evergreen and Wan Hai, but to better cooperate with Taiwan’s shipping lines and offer better services for Taiwan companies.
“Our counterparts in Taiwan have given extensive support for the setting up of our representative office in the island,” Wei said.
He said COSCO planned to invest in the Taiwan's Kaohsiung Port to improve its handling capacity. Kaohsiung has been stung by carrier defections and stagnant cargo volumes in recent years.
Wei said the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), signed by the mainland and Taiwan earlier this year, has brought huge commercial opportunities for the shipping industry across the Taiwan Strait, and shipping companies from both sides should work together to expand the market.
Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to gradually reduce and remove trade and investment barriers, and continue discussing agreements regarding commodities trade, services trade and investment. ' Eric Johnson