The 2020 Taiwan Expo India, last of the Taiwan Expo series for the year organized by the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) was held on 16 December as an online-physical hybrid. The opening ceremony at the Taipei International Convention Center and New Delhi, India linked up online to kick off the three-day event until 18 December. A hundred and twenty Taiwanese business representatives were invited to participate in the exhibition, and over 220 Indian buyers engaged in over 700 virtual procurement meetings with our businesses.
In order to promote products and services to India's domestic market, our businesses set up virtual reality booths to showcase products through VR technology. Six virtual sub-themes presented at the exhibition were Smart Technology, Precision Industry, Cutting-edge Healthcare, Taiwan Excellence, Lifestyle and Beauty, and Charming Taiwan. Under these sub-themes were a total of ten pavilions named Taiwan Excellence, Pandemic Control, Taiwan Plumbing, Southern Taiwan Science and Technology Medical Suppliers, Orchids, Taiwan Fashion and Functional Textiles, and the Taiwan Products Center (TPC).
The BOFT states that Taiwan and India share close economic and trade relations, and that India is an important partner under the New Southbound Policy. Comparing 2018 with 2017, bilateral trade grew an eye-catching 40%. However, factors such as changes to India's domestic demand and COVID-19 led to a contraction in bilateral trade in 2019. The exchange platform from online expos as well as the government trade talks and private sectors' economic and trade meetings have continued our exchanges and interactions even if changes had to be made for them to be held virtually this year. It is expected that trade between Taiwan and India will rapidly return after the pandemic eases.
The BOFT continues to actively promote digital transformation with TAITRA and organize overseas market promotion activities through hybrid means. We also enhance our overseas offices' capabilities in assisting our businesses to participate in overseas exhibitions, and in providing them with all-rounded marketing support.