President Ma eyes expanded trade ties with Europe
By Elaine Hou
27 April 2011
ROC President Ma Ying-jeou said he expects Taiwan-EU economic relations to continue strengthening on the back of increased collaboration in the areas of trade, commerce and investment.
“Bilateral trade between Taiwan and the EU increased 31 percent to US$48.6 billion last year,” Ma said April 26. “Our next goal is to explore the possibility of signing a free trade agreement with the EU so as to cement this economic partnership and improve our competitiveness.”
Ma made the remarks while receiving a six-member delegation from the European Parliament’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. The group, which is on a five-day visit to Taiwan, includes lawmakers Alexander Alvaro, Metin Kazak, Kristiina Ojuland and Alexandra Thein.
Ma expressed gratitude to the alliance delegation for supporting Taiwan in securing EU visa-free entry last year. “This was a perfect gift for the ROC centennial, and also shows great respect for the people of Taiwan,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Ma met with former Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, who is now a European Parliament lawmaker.
Ma told Landsbergis he was pleased with the development of Taiwan-EU ties and looks forward to building a closer economic partnership. “The priority for both sides must be setting up institutionalized cooperative mechanisms,” he added.
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, which is the European Parliament’s third-largest political group, is scheduled to wrap up its visit to Taiwan April 29. (JSM)