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Taiwan hoping to begin trade negotiations with European Union soon

2015/10/01 13:41:08

Taipei, Oct. 1 (CNA) Taiwan is hoping to start negotiating with the European Union on a bilateral investment agreement in an effort to strengthen bilateral trade relations, a foreign affairs official said Thursday.

"It is among the issues in bilateral dialogue," said Anna Kao (高安), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of European Affairs, in response to reporters' questions at a news briefing.

Taiwan has expressed to EU officials its wish to negotiate a bilateral investment agreement and they support the idea, Kao said.

She also noted the several resolutions that have been passed by the European Parliament in support of strengthening trade relations between Taiwan and the European Union.

But it might take a while before the two sides can enter negotiations, according to Kao.

European Union trade officials are focusing their efforts on negotiating trade agreements with other countries, Kao said, but added that Taiwan still hopes to start negotiations as soon as possible.

Kao's remarks followed a call by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for the EU to start negotiations with Taiwan on a bilateral investment pact during a teleconference with the European Parliament two days earlier.

The president said that since the EU and China have been in talks about an investment agreement for almost two years, now is a good time for the EU and Taiwan to start parallel talks on a bilateral investment agreement.

An EU-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement would have a "synergistic effect" on the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed in 2010 between Taiwan and China, Ma said.

(By Elaine Hou)