Aug 04, 2011

Taiwan: MEPs Call For Increased “de facto acknowledgement”

Emphasising its rising de facto economic prominence in global economic markets, MEPs Laima Andrikienė and Daniel Caspary have called for increased recognition of the importance of Taiwan’s relationship with the EU.

Below is an article published by The

Two senior MEPs have called for “deepened” trade links between the EU and Taiwan.

Laima Andrikiene and Daniel Caspary say that Taiwan is “increasingly a very important” partner of the EU.

The two EPP deputies, both members of the international trade committee, were speaking at a Brussels debate, “EU-Taiwan relations,” organised by the European People’s Party.

They said the EU should consider opening negotiations on possible free trade agreements (FTA) with Taiwan.

A similar agreement was recently signed with South Korea.

The hearing also included representatives of the commission and experts on international trade.

Trade between the EU and Taiwan has increased more than eightfold over the past two decades.

In 2010, the EU is Taiwan’s fourth trade partner after China, the US and Japan and in the same year Taiwan was the EU’s 15th largest trading partner.

Speaking at the debate, Andrikiene, from Lithuania, said such data underlined the importance of current relations between the two sides.

She said, “Taiwan is increasingly a very important trade partner of the EU.

“It has a highly developed market economy, which has been growing at a very rapid pace in the recent years, even in the context of global financial and economic crisis.

“Taiwan’s dynamic economy does not threaten some of Europe’s most sensitive sectors, such as automobiles or agriculture, but at the same time provides many opportunities for European companies, not least due to its potential role of a regional hub and gateway to mainland China.”

Her comments were echoed by Caspary, an EPP coordinator, who said, “The economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) concluded with the People’s Republic of China is of historic proportions and demonstrates China’s de facto acknowledgement of Taiwan’s role in global trade and its importance for China’s own economic development.”

The German member said the hearing was an opportunity to analyse the current status quo of EU’s trade relationship with Taiwan “and to explore the possibilities of deepening this trade relationship with a view to having a potential free trade agreement between the EU and Taiwan in the near future”.

In 2010, the EU exported €16.1bn worth of goods to Taiwan and imported goods to the value of €20.6bn from the island.

However, because of its ‘one-China’ policy, the EU does not have diplomatic or formal political relations with Taiwan.

The EU does, though, support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in multilateral for a.

With the establishment of the commission’s European economic and trade office in Taipei in 2003, bilateral relations have further intensified.


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