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Taiwan calls for quick start to trade talks with EU By Reuters

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© Reuters. A container ship passing by Keelung, northern Taiwan on July 20, 2010 as people ride their motorcycles. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang/File Photo

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s government called on the European Union to quickly begin trade talks after the bloc pledged to seek a trade deal with the tech-heavyweight island, something Taipei has long angled for.

Although the EU had Taiwan included on its 2015 list of potential trade partners in a possible bilateral investment agreement, it hasn’t held any talks with Taiwan since. This was the year President TsaiIng-wen became Taiwan’s first president.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry stated Friday that it would be responding to the EU’s recently announced strategy of increasing its presence within the Indo-Pacific. It also suggested that negotiations with Taiwan on the issue should commence soon. Already, the European Parliament has given its support for a trade agreement between Taiwan and EU.

It stated that the European Union should immediately begin the work of pre-negotiation, including the impact assessment, public consultations and the scope definition of a Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIT) with Taiwan in line with its resolutions.

“As a like-minded partner of the EU’s with core values ​​such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, Taiwan will continue to strengthen cooperation in the supply chain reorganisation of semiconductors and other related strategic industries, digital economy, green energy, and post-epidemic economic recovery.”

The EU and its member countries have never had formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. This is due to China’s objections. China considers Taiwan one of its provincials without the right to statehood. Any investment agreement could prove to be difficult for the EU.

However, the EU’s relationship with China has deteriorated.

The European Parliament stopped ratifying a new China investment pact in May until Beijing lifted sanctions against EU politicians. This escalated the Sino-European dispute and denied EU businesses greater access to China’s second largest economy.

Because a lack of chips can cause supply chain disruptions and even shut down some lines for auto production, the EU was looking to strengthen its cooperation with Taiwan in semiconductors.

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