Apr 02, 2013

Taiwan: UK MEP Calls For Stronger Economic Ties With EU

A British MEP has called for increased political, trade and commercial links between the EU and Taiwan.

Below is an article published by The Parliament:

Senior British MEP Charles Tannock has called for increased "political, trade and commercial" links between the EU and Taiwan.

Speaking in parliament, the ECR member also praised Taiwan's "Rolls Royce-type" representation office to the EU.

Tannock, a Tory deputy, cited the visa waiver arrangement between the two sides as one of the "success stories" in the EU-Taiwan relationship.

But he said, "We need to carry on the good fight for better commercial, trade and political connections."

He was speaking at an event to mark the appointment of Kuoyu Tung as Taiwan's new ambassador to the EU.

Voicing his "deep gratitude" to MEPs for their support for Taiwan in the face of what he called "a rising China", he said, "The thing that binds the EU and Taiwan together are our shared democratic values."

He said on Tuesday [26 March 2013] that while he wished to see this continue it should not, he stressed, be at the expense of Taiwan's ever-closer ties with mainland China.

"We need a stable cross-strait relationship with China," he declared.

His comments come in the wake of similar remarks by Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou, who recently urged further joint research on economic cooperation between Taiwan and the EU, leading to talks on trade enhancement measures and the eventual signing of an economic cooperation agreement.

The European chamber of commerce Taipei's 2012 position paper, "Unleashing the Taiwan Tiger," called for Taiwan to eliminate obstacles to unleash its potential and overtake the other three Asian tigers, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, Ma said.

The president said that as early as 1992 he had travelled to Germany for talks in which he had called on Europe to join hands with Taiwan in developing the mainland Chinese market.

"What may have seemed an unlikely concept then has now become reality", he said, "with burgeoning opportunities resulting from the cross-strait accords, 18 in number including the cross-straits economic cooperation framework agreement, which have been signed so far."

From 1952 to 2012, Europe has been the biggest investor in Taiwan and, according to the most recent report by US-based business environment risk intelligence, Taiwan is the world's fourth best investment destination among the 50 major countries surveyed, Ma said.

In recent years Taiwan and the EU have seen a strengthening of exchanges, such as the visa-free travel arrangements and working holiday accords, resulting in a 40 per cent increase in the number of Taiwan visitors to Europe in the past two years, he said.