U.K. seeking to strengthen trade ties with Taiwan: outgoing envoy - Focus Taiwan

U.K. seeking to strengthen trade ties with Taiwan: outgoing envoy

Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) The United Kingdom has strong trade and investment ties with Taiwan and is seeking to advance bilateral trade relations, with bilateral trade talks planned for September, the U.K.'s outgoing representative to Taiwan said Wednesday.

Lauding the U.K.'s strong trade and investment relations with Taiwan, Chris Wood -- head of the British Office in Taipei -- said the latest figures available on U.K. trade and service exports to Taiwan show a 2.3 percent year-on-year increase in 2014 to reach their second-highest level at 1.9 billion pounds (US$2.47 billion), while the total value of bilateral trade was 5.8 billion pounds.

Taiwan ranks as the U.K.'s No. 6 trading partner in the Asia-Pacific (behind China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore), and is the U.K.'s 32nd-largest trading partner globally, he said. One of the strongest-performing exports to Taiwan continues to be scotch whisky, he added.

On the other hand, the U.K. is Taiwan's 13th-largest export destination globally and the 3rd-biggest in Europe, he said in a speech during a media luncheon.

"With Taiwan's growing need for services, and the U.K.'s strengths in services in many sectors, including transportation and financial services, we see real scope for deepening bilateral collaboration in the services sector," Wood said.

In terms of investment, he lauded the U.K. as an attractive destination for Taiwanese investment. Citing statistics compiled by the Investment Commission of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, the U.K. attracted a total of US$1.7 billion in investment from Taiwan in 2015, representing more than 67.7 percent of Taiwanese investment in Europe.

"The U.K. wants to maintain a strong trade and investment relationship with Taiwan, and to continue to have engagement at a high level," Wood said.

Lord Mayor of the City of London Jeffrey Mountevans visited Taiwan to strengthen bilateral cooperation in financial services last month, during which he met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), he pointed out.

He also noted that the next round of U.K.‐Taiwan bilateral trade talks will take place in late September. U.K. Minister of State in the Department for International Trade Greg Hands will lead a delegation to attend the meeting and he will be joined by the British prime minister's trade envoy for Taiwan, Lord Faulkner, he said.

Bilateral cooperation also covers areas such as sustainability and climate change.

On Sept. 29, the British Office will co‐host a climate change conference together with the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy to share U.K.'s climate policies, Wood said.

Following a visit in 2014, U.K. Special Representative for Climate Change Sir David King is planning to make another visit to Taiwan in October, he added.

In November, a British railway trade mission will visit Taiwan to discuss issues such as sustainable railway solutions, asset management and maintenance equipment, he said.

Meanwhile, a group of U.K. nuclear decommissioning experts are expected to visit Taiwan next year to share the U.K.'s experience, as Taiwan moves toward decommissioning some of its nuclear power plants, according to Wood.

In the areas of science and technology, the U.K. will send a "robotics mission" to the Automation Intelligence and Robot Show in Taipei Aug. 30, he said.

Wood, who assumed the post as the U.K.'s representative to Taiwan in March 2013, will officially conclude his term next Wednesday.

"After three-and-a-half very happy years in Taiwan, I will be leaving for my next posting in a week's time," he told reporters.

(By Elaine Hou)ENDITEM/J

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