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Taiwan urges EU to start preparations for possible trade agreement

2021-09-18
Focus Taiwan
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Image taken from facebook.com/EuropeanCommission
Image taken from facebook.com/EuropeanCommission

Taipei, Sept. 17 (CNA) The Taiwan government urged the European Union Friday to begin preparations for the possible signing of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA), following the EU's pledge the previous day to seek a trade deal with Taiwan as part of a wider Indo-Pacific strategy.

In its Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council, the EU said it planned to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific region, in the areas of health, security, data, infrastructure, the environment, oceans, and trade.

The document, titled "The EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific," specified the EU's intention to seek a trade deal with Taiwan, as part of its strategy to counter China's influence in the region.

"The EU will also pursue its deep trade and investment relationships with partners with whom it does not have trade and investment agreements, such as Taiwan," the joint communication states.

In response, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday that it welcomed the plan, and it urged the EU to soon begin an impact assessment, a scoping exercise and public consultations in preliminary preparation for a possible BIA.

The joint communication clearly indicates that the EU sees Taiwan as one of its close partners in the Indo-Pacific region, MOFA said.

According to the document, the EU intends to work with its Indo-Pacific partners to reinforce value chains by strengthening and diversifying trade relations, which will also involve addressing strategic dependencies in supply chains.

"For semiconductors, for example, it will do so with partners such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan," the document states.

The EU said it will also continue its engagement in the region to promote convergence between data protection regimes to ensure safe and free data flows among partners, including Taiwan.

On the issue of China's influence in the region, the EU said the country's "significant military build-up" and "display of force" as well as the "increasing tensions in regional hotspots" such as in the South and East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait, may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity.

The EU will conduct "more joint exercises and port calls with Indo- Pacific partners, including multilateral exercises, to fight piracy and protect freedom of navigation, while reinforcing EU naval diplomacy in the region," it said.

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