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Local foothold a vital first step for Taiwan-made goods

The MIT label was also launched to protect the local textile industry, which consists of clothing, undergarments, swimsuits and sweaters, in preparation for the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA, 兩岸經濟合作架構協議) that was signed in June 2010. Faced with increasing competition from foreign imports (after the signing of the agreement), the industry had to increase its competitiveness in order to survive. It is by increasing competitiveness that Taiwan can benefit from the advantages of ECFA, which allows Taiwan's textile exports to enter mainland China at a favorable tax rate starting this year. In 2013, the exports will be completely duty free.

In the meantime, the country's avant-garde designers and manufacturers have been able to showcase their products at the FUSE Fashion Textile Week as well as various other promotional events, and expand their market shares all across the island. Held with the support of the Taiwan Textile Federation (TTF, 紡拓會), the Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI, 紡織產業綜合研究所), the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Industrial Development Bureau (IDB, 經濟部工業局) and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院), FUSE combines high fashion with traditional Taiwanese culture to promote Taiwan's textile sector on the local and international stages.

As Taiwan has acquired a competitive advantage by upgrading its technology to focus on performance textiles, performance fabrics and environment-friendly textiles, the government must make sure that Taiwan stays ahead of the competition by continuing research and development in other areas, including food manufacturing and the agricultural sector.

In this respect, Taiwan-made food and beverages, as well as fruit and vegetables, have great market potential in neighboring countries given the improving relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Due to labor shortages, it is unlikely that Taiwan's food sector will continue to expand significantly; therefore, it is important for Taiwanese businesses to improve the value of their products.

Quality is of course important, but so is having unique and marketable designs. In order to successfully win the hearts of overseas consumers, “Made-in-Taiwan” products will need a firm hold on the domestic market. Without having a secure footing in the domestic market, it will be impossible to look toward overseas markets; therefore, the government must act now to help regain the public's confidence in locally made products via the same kind of MIT certification process.

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