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EU, Taiwan trade ties unaffected by French election: envoy

2012/05/07 22:07:45

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) The trade relationship between the European Union (EU) and Taiwan will not be affected by the outcome of the French presidential election, the union's trade representative in Taiwan said Monday.

"I don't expect there will be big changes," said Frederic Laplanche, head of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), at a media briefing.

"The EU policies are not decided by a single country but based on the consensus of 27 member countries," he said.

"Any elections in one or two countries will not change too much the overall balance of the EU policies. We will continue to move on in the same direction," he added.

In terms of EU-Taiwan trade negotiations, Laplanche believed that the EU will still seek to balance liberalization in any trade talks with partners, such as allowing both sides to open markets to each other.

Earlier on Monday, Francois Hollande defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy in a second round run-off vote in the French presidential election.

Taiwanese analysts have predicted that the power shift in France will only have a limited impact on global stock markets because the second half of the year is traditionally a strong season for electronics manufacturers.

Meanwhile, Bureau Francais de Taipei Director Olivier Richard said his bureau set up ballot boxes in Taipei for the first time to serve French nationals in the country, with a turnout of about 60 percent.

There are about 1,500 French nationals living in Taiwan, 673 of whom are eligible voters, he said.

The voting rate was 61 percent for the first round and 60 percent for the second round, which were pretty high figures, Richard added.

Speaking on the French Parliament election in June, Richard said his bureau will also open ballot boxes at that time and make the voting routine.

Asked about the possible transition after the power shift in France, Richard said it was difficult to predict any changes at present as the new president has yet to take office.

But he said that Hollande understood all the critical issues and was willing to handle them with other EU members.

The EETO also unveiled the "EU Connections" to the public -- a small handbook in both Chinese and English that acts as a portal to links and sources of information regarding the EU and EU-Taiwan relations.

The book is tailor made for Taiwanese professionals including journalists, academics, business people, government officials and nongovernmental organizations, according to the office.

Laplanche said EU Connections is the first of its kind in the world, and the EETO will revise the handbook on an annual basis to keep the information up to date.

(By Jeffrey Wu)