Taipei, April 27 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou on Friday urged the European Union and EU state-members to sign economic cooperation agreements with Taiwan and promote further progress in bilateral economic ties.
"We very much hope that our relations with the EU can be further enhanced," Ma said in suggesting the idea of an economic cooperation agreement to a visiting delegation from the European Parliament in a meeting at his office.
Addressing Taiwan's close trade interaction with the EU, Ma said the European economic bloc is Taiwan's fourth largest trade partner and Taiwan the EU's 15th largest trade partner.
Total trade between the two exceeded US$52.5 billion in 2011, 8 percent higher than the previous year and accounting for roughly 9 percent of Taiwan's foreign trade, he said.
In addition, EU states have invested more than US$30 billion in Taiwan, about 30 percent of the total foreign investment in the country.
Ma also noted the potential benefits of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed with China for European investors in Taiwan as more products exported to China gain duty-free access to the mainland market.
"The products made by EU-invested ventures in Taiwan will be regarded as Taiwan products if they are sold to the mainland, and therefore they are entitled to the tariff-free treatment," Ma said.
(By Lee Shu-hua and Elizabeth Hsu)