On 05 June, 1975, the Far East Trade Promotion Center, a non-stock, non-profit organization which later became the Asian Exchange Center Inc., acted as the Philippine representative office in Taiwan to maintain people-to-people relations between Taiwan and the Philippines.
On 01 January 1993, the Asian Exchange Center, Inc. was formally transformed to the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) as a non-profit entity, duly incorporated under the laws of the Philippines. Since that time. MECO has served as the unofficial link between the Philippines and Taiwan. MECO has offices in Makati City, Philippines and Taipei City with extension office in Taichung City and Kaohsiung City in Taiwan.
MECO, as the duly designated instrumentality to promote and protect Philippine interests in Taiwan, has been authorized and conferred with authority to perform functions usually carried out by Philippine foreign missions but of a non-political, non-security nature. It performs consular functions and is tasked with the duty of protecting and promoting the well being of Philippine nationals in Taiwan. It has been authorized to assist in the formulation of a comprehensive action plan in Taiwan and to act as the coordinator of all Philippine activities concerning Taiwan.
Specifically, MECO performs the following functions:
- Formulation and implementation of a program to attract and promote investments from Taiwan to Philippine industries and businesses, especially in manufacturing, tourism, construction and other preferred areas of investments;
- Promotion of the export of Philippine products and Filipino manpower services, including Philippine management services to Taiwan;
- Negotiation and/or assistance in the negotiation and conclusion of agreements or other arrangements concerning trade, investment, economic cooperation, technology transfer, banking and finance, scientific, cultural, educational and other modes of cooperative endeavors between the Philippines and Taiwan on a people-to-people basis, in accordance to established rules and regulations;
- Reporting on, and identification of, employment and business opportunities in Taiwan for the promotion of Philippine exports, manpower and management services, and tourism;
- Dissemination in Taiwan of information on the Philippines, especially in the fields of trade, tourism, labor, economic cooperation, and cultural, educational and scientific endeavors;
- Conduct periodic assesment of market conditions in Taiwan, including the submission of trade statisticsand commercial reports for use of Philippine industries and businesses; and
- Facilitation, fostering and cultivation of cultural, sports, social and educational exchanges between the people of the Philippines and Taiwan.
It is the mission of MECO to sustain and enhance mutually beneficial relationships between the economies and societies of the Philippines and Taiwan, strengthened through active cooperation and increased exchanges. Strong ties between the peoples and Taiwan and the Philippines will mean better lives for the Filipinos.
It is the vision of MECO to be a model for Philippine foreign establishment able to pursue its mandate and perform its functions efficiently and effectively while maintaining its financial soundness.