On 05 June 1975, the Republic of the Philippines recognized the People’s Republic of China as the sole legitimate government of China, ending formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The Philippine Embassy in Taiwan ceased to exist and, in lieu thereof, the Far East Trade Promotion Center, which later became the Asian Exchange Center, Inc., a non-stock, non-profit organization, acted as the Philippine representative office in Taiwan to maintain friendly people-to-people relations between the two neighbors.
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:
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 people 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.