New Trade Center Boosts Taiwan-Russia Commerce
Published: October 3, 2012 (Issue # 1729)
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and the Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC) have opened a Taiwan Trade Center in St. Petersburg in an effort to push for more development in economic and cultural exchanges with Russia and boost communications between the business circles of the two countries.
The local center is the 56th of its kind for Taiwan. TAITRA’s first branch in Russia, the Taiwan Trade Center in Moscow, was established in 1992.
TAITRA is Taiwan’s leading non-profit trade promotion organization. Its mission is to raise the country’s business profile on an international level and expand global markets for Taiwan’s producers.
“There is ample room for Taiwan and Russia to increase trade and investment,” said Chih-kang Wang, the chairman of TAITRA, speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the St. Petersburg office on Sept. 27.
While he mentioned Taiwan’s interest in Russia’s rich natural resources — namely oil and metals — and praised the country’s recent economic achievements, he said that Taiwan’s export priorities for Russia include components for the automotive industry and machinery, and IT products.
“Russia is now a country with 140 million consumers, booming infrastructure needs and the ninth-largest economy in the world,” he said.
“Indeed, it is time for us to deliver more and increase our presence here.”
Jeffrey Hong, director of the Taiwan Trade Center in St. Petersburg, has worked for TAITRA for the past 20 years, with his most recent assignment being to head the office in Stockholm.
“Now that Russia has joined the World Trade Organization, and the number of enquiries from Taiwanese businessmen about potential Russian partners has increased dramatically, the St. Petersburg office looks set to be very busy,” Hong said.
“One of the center’s tasks is providing information services and responding to enquiries from both Taiwanese and Russian businessmen — and we provide all information services free of charge,” Hong added.
The Taiwan Trade Center in St. Petersburg is located at 32 Naberezhnaya Makarova.
Jack Cheng, director of TAITRA’s Moscow center, said that Taiwan’s producers are seeking to make their range of export goods more diverse.
“For example, we are now selling top-class mountain bikes to Russia as well as a range of luxury cosmetic products for hair styling.”
St. Petersburg’s business community welcomed the arrival of the Taiwan center.
“TAITRA’s branch in Moscow has been operating for many years already, and opening the branch in St. Petersburg is an important step toward further development of trade and strengthening the position of Taiwanese business on the Russian market,” said Vladimir Kotenev, president of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In 1999, the chamber signed a cooperation agreement with TAITRA’s Moscow branch, and has since organized more than 15 joint events with its Taiwanese partners.
“We are very much looking forward to expanding business ties locally,” Kotenev added.
The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry is currently preparing a presentation about a machine-building exhibit that will take place in Taipei. The presentation will be the organization’s first project with TAITRA’s local office.