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Trade talks with U.K. aimed at boosting agriculture, energy industries

2017/12/02 17:02:46

From the U.K. Department of International Trade

Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) The 20th round of trade talks between Taiwan and the United Kingdom held in London Dec. 1 were aimed at strengthening cooperation in the agriculture and energy industries, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

The talks were attended by a Taiwanese delegation led by Vice Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花), and reached a consensus to set up a dialogue platform next year to discuss agriculture and energy cooperation.

Wang and Greg Hands, head of the U.K. Department for International Trade, presided over this year's meeting at a time when Taipei and London have seen their bilateral economic ties increasing.

In the first 10 months of this year, two-way trade between Taiwan and the U.K. totaled US$4.69 billion, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier. Currently, the U.K. is Taiwan's third-largest trading partner in Europe, while investment by U.K. firms in Taiwan were the second-largest among the European Union members, the MOEA said.

"The U.K. and Taiwan have a very strong trade and investment relationship, and as the U.K. leaves the EU, Taiwan looks forward both to strengthening bilateral trade flows and to expanding mutual cooperation," Wang said in a statement.

"We have confidence in the U.K. economy, the world's fifth- largest, and we consider it one of the priority destinations for Taiwanese investment in Europe," Wang said.

As for the upcoming cooperation in agriculture and energy, Hands said the new dialogue is expected to bring big business opportunities to U.K. firms as Taiwan is planning to raised renewable energy production from 4 percent to 20 percent of the total energy supply by 2025.

"Our new trade dialogues in agriculture and energy will offer U.K. expertise in leading industries and I look forward to continuing to work together closely to further deepen our trade and investment links," Hands said in the statement.

According to the U.K. Department for International Trade, an upcoming dialogue in energy development is expected to strengthen cooperation in offshore wind energy with the U.K. as a key partner of Taiwan in the area.

In terms of agricultural cooperation, both sides have agreed to resolve remaining issues, which is expected to lead Taiwan to lift a ban on British pork.

In addition, the two sides signed an agreement to make it easier for U.K. specialist medicines to be used in Taiwan, while both have agreed to build on the U.K.'s US$208 million-worth of financial service exports to Taiwan last year to push for financial technology exchanges between the two countries.

The first Taiwan-U.K. trade talks kicked off in 1991, and have taken place almost every year since then.

(By Tai Ya-chen, Elaine Hou and Frances Huang)