EU envoy looking to attract more Taiwan investment to Europe

11/30/2019 09:02 PM
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Filip Grzegorzewski, the new chief of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan.
Filip Grzegorzewski, the new chief of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan.

Taipei, Nov. 30 (CNA) Filip Grzegorzewski, the new chief of the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan, said his top priorities will be to make the European Union more visible in Taiwan and encourage more Taiwanese investment in the EU.

Grzegorzewski, who took office in September, told CNA in a recent interview that he hopes to increase the profile of the EU in Taiwan, particularly to further introduce Europe as an excellent investment destination.

"I would like to promote Europe as a good place for Taiwanese investors to bring Taiwan and Europe closer," he said.

Such a task is important because compared with European investment in Taiwan, Taiwanese invests relatively little in Europe, Grzegorzewski said.

Europe has already built a presence here, accounting for more than 31 percent of the foreign direct investment in Taiwan, according to the former Polish diplomat.

On the contrary, only 3 percent of all Taiwanese investment abroad goes to Europe, he said.

"I think the potential for Taiwanese investment in Europe is much higher," he said.

There are many advantages to doing business in Europe as it offers a common market and shared visa policy and the freedom of movement, people, capital, and services, Grzegorzewski said.

To drum up interest in investing in Europe, there will be an investment forum held in Taiwan next year to bring together both European and Taiwanese business representatives and officials, he said.

Stronger bilateral trade ties will also pave the way for a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) between Taiwan and the EU, Grzegorzewski said.

"BIA is an agreement that (could) definitely be very useful for EU-Taiwan relations," Grzegorzewski said, but he cautioned that the timimg of when work can begin will depend on when the new EU commission decides to take further concrete action on scheduling.

"What's most important for me is that there is trust between us," he said.

Speaking of Taiwan's international inclusion, Grzegorzewski said the EU wants to make sure that Taiwan is not cut out from mechanisms of cooperation that are important to the whole world.

"Taiwan is an indispensable part of international relations," he said, adding that it is in the EU's interest to see the environment of Taiwan remain stable, predictable, safe and secure.

While the EU follows the "one China" policy, the new envoy felt Taiwan could play some role in a multilateral framework.

"We want Taiwan to be part of those joint multilateral discussions. I think there is a way to find formats that could allow Taiwan to be part of those international discussions, even if it's not through formal participation, which is of course not possible," he said.

"Issues such as safety, health, and climate change require efforts not only from the members of international organizations, but also those who are not part of those international organizations, including Taiwan."

Speaking fluent Mandarin, Grzegorzewski said he finds Taiwan a wonderful place to stay.

"I'm surprised how much I like it. It's a place where you can immediately feel at home," he said.

(By Elaine Hou and Lee Hsin-Yin)


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