Taipei Times | 27 October 2022
Taiwan appeals for EU trade deal
By Sarah Wu / Reuters
Government officials on Tuesday touted Taiwan’s leading position in the chip sector, while appealing to the EU to start talks for a trade deal, which Taipei has long sought.
“The restructuring of global supply chains and transformation of our economies bring enormous potential for closer, mutually beneficial cooperation between Taiwan and the EU,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at an EU investment forum in Taipei.
“I am optimistic that this will help pave the way for negotiation of [a] bilateral investment agreement,” she said of the forum.
Although it is Taiwan’s largest source of foreign investment, the EU and its member states do not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
The EU has been courting Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer, as one of the “like-minded” partners it would like to work with under the European Chips Act unveiled in February.
In the wake of a global chip shortage, during which Germany had asked Taiwan to help ease a shortage of auto chips, countries around the world have announced massive investments to boost domestic chip production and research.
“Top priorities now for nations are engaging in cooperation with like-minded allies, building secure and reliable supply chain partnerships and avoiding over-reliance on a single market,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) told the forum.
With the EU planning to set up at least 6 million public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 and electric vehicles requiring significantly more chips than conventional vehicles, “Taiwan will be a trustworthy partner for the EU in developing its EV market,” Wang said.
As the restructuring of the global supply chain accelerates, in the coming years, “Taiwan investment in the EU will far surpass the amount now, especially in semiconductors,” National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said.
Given the enormous amounts of investment between Taiwan and the EU, Kung asked: “Can we start to discuss a bilateral investment agreement?”
The EU included Taiwan on its list of trade partners for a potential bilateral investment agreement in 2015, the year before Tsai became president, but it has not held talks with Taiwan on the issue since.
“Bilateral trade investment cooperation has never been more important, with unprecedented environmental and geopolitical challenges seriously testing our shared resilience,” Tsai said.