Tsai receives EU parliamentarians, pledges to expand economic ties

Tsai receives EU parliamentarians, pledges to expand economic ties



18 JUly 2018.

President Tsai Ing-wen said July 17 that Taiwan is committed to deepening economic ties with the EU across a broad spectrum of areas including industrial cluster development and renewable energy. Two-way trade rose to a record US$53.2 billion in 2017, while the EU is Taiwan’s largest source of foreign direct investment, Tsai said. A bilateral investment agreement would further strengthen this mutually beneficial partnership, bolstering economic growth on both sides, she added. The president made the remarks while receiving a six-strong European Parliament delegation led by Member of the EP Frank Engel at the Office of the President in Taipei City.Tsai conveyed gratitude to the lawmakers for the EP’s strong support for a BIA, adding that the determination of both sides to boosting trade ties is underscored by initiatives like European Innovation Week.

Staged last month in Taipei, the event saw small and medium enterprises from Taiwan and the EU explore opportunities for tie-ups and joint overseas expansion. Robust economic exchanges are further highlighted by European participation in Taiwan’s four-year wind power promotion plan, the president said. This initiative aims to raise the nation’s installed turbine capacity to 1.334 gigawatts by 2020, with the Ministry of Economic Affairs selecting three EU firms to construct offshore wind farms under the project. Collaboration between the two sides extends beyond the economic realm, as evidenced by the first Taiwan-EU consultation on human rights held in March in Taipei, Tsai said. Going forward, this platform is expected to expand cooperation in advancing universal values, she added.

Noting that many people joined a march in Brussels last month to express backing for Taiwan in the face of increasing Chinese suppression and military intimidation, the president said that the country is grateful for the support of its friends in Europe. Tsai reiterated that Taiwan is willing to engage in dialogue and communication with China provided that talks take place on the basis of equality and without political preconditions. The government is committed to upholding the nation’s sovereignty, she said, adding that the international community must stand with Taiwan in safeguarding the shared values of freedom and democracy.