Taipei, May 25 (CNA) A Taiwan trade delegation visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday to strengthen bilateral trade ties.
The delegation comprises representatives from the Institute of Information Industry, Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association and the Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China and is being led by Chen Ming-shy, deputy director-general of Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade.
The group met with Shaheen Ali Shaheen, assistant secretary-general of the Federation of UAE Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Chen also visited Dubai's World Trade Center where 150 Taiwan companies are participating in AutoMechanika 2012, a car component exhibition.
In the meeting with Shaheen, the two sides discussed strengthening bilateral trade ties, said Chang Wang-lu, head of the Commercial Office of the Republic of China to Dubai.
Taiwan has been trying to improve bilateral trade ties with UAE, which has become a free trade hub for the European, Asian and African regions, Chang said, noting that President Ma Ying-jeou mentioned in his inauguration speech plans to make Taiwan a "free trade island."
Dubai's infrastructure and its geographic location, straddling Europe, Asia and Africa, make it major transportation hub in the region and a great trade platform for the 60 countries in those areas, Chen said.
Dubai has been included as one of the main target areas in Taiwan's plan to increase exports in 2012, Chen noted.
In 2011, the UAE was Taiwan's 19th largest trade partner, with bilateral trade totaling US$5.86 billion, an increase of 17 percent from 2010, according to Taiwan government statistics.
Taiwan's exports to the Middle East country were US$1.58 billion, while imports from the UAE amounted to US$4.28 billion, the 2011 statistics showed.
Taiwan has been sending groups on an annual basis to attend exhibitions in the UAE that feature food, electronics, car components and mechanics, said Chang.
(By C.J. Lin)