Taiwanese Delegation calls for EU-Taiwan Trade Agreement

A Taiwanese delegation led by deputy minister of economic affairs (MoEA) Sheng-Chung Lin ( Lin Sheng-chung, 林圣忠) attended a discussion or forum at the House of Commons buildings and called for British support for a EU-Taiwanese free-trade agreement which would benefit both the EU and Taiwan. In an interview with the BBC’s Chinese service after the discussion in parliament building, Lin pointed out that such an agreement would not only be beneficial for the EU and Taiwan, but for China, too. There were words of praise for Taiwan’s open-market economy during the discussion, but the BBC report points out that the EU, rather than China, would probably keep the process slow, as all EU member states needed to agree to important EU decisions unanimously. The Taiwanese delegation expressed its hope that Britain could advocate the trade agreement with Taiwan among its fellow EU members.

The European Parliament passed a resolution calling for a free-trade agreement with Taiwan in May this year.

Taiwan News quotes deputy minister Lin as saying that Taiwan has obtained the support of the United Kingdom for its effort to forge an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) with the European Union, and would continue to seek backing from other EU nations in the hope that the trade deal could be signed within two years. Lin had visited the Czech Republic and Ireland before arriving in London.

Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) Chinese service quotes from a talk Lin gave to Taiwanese business people who also travelled Britain. He said that Taiwan had won Britain’s support for a EU-Taiwanese ECA (经济合作协议), and pointed out that Taiwan had previously obtained investment opportunities from the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China. He said that the MoEA had held workshops in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark in May this year, to build an atmosphere favorable towards a EU-Taiwanese trade agreement. Lin also referred to the European Parliament’s resolution (see above) in favor of a trade agreement with Taiwan. The sooner an agreement with the EU could be signed, the better, RTI quotes Lin. The Taiwanese government hoped that this would be possible in two years, but a specific time was difficult to forecast.

A free-trade agreement between the United States and South Korea is expected to come into effect in January next year, reports the Taipei Times. Taiwan’s MoEA told Taiwanese companies in certain sectors to brace themselves for the effects of the U.S.-Korean agreement, according to the Taipei Times.

A EU-South Korea free trade agreement took effect on July 1 this year, and Lin Sheng-chung warns that this agreement threatened Taiwan. An Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) with the European Union would help protect Taiwan’s interests, RTI’s English service quotes Lin.

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Related

» The Lame leading the Blind, June 3, 2011
» Lee Kuan Yew: Free Trade to Counterbalance China, Jan 25, 2011
» ECFA “a Framework .., without substantial content”, Nov 26, 2010

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