Taiwan signed two agreements with the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Saturday to provide more funds as a long-term donor to EBRD operations that help 28 countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia, to develop free market economies.
The agreements were inked between Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂), Taiwan's representative to the UK, and Jean Lemierre, president of the EBRD, at Tashkent on the eve of the EBRD's annual meeting from May 4-5.
Under the Replenishment Agreement, Taiwan pledges to donate an extra US$1 million to the EBRD's technical cooperation programs. Taiwan is the largest non-member donor to the EBRD's technical cooperation funds.
The second agreement commits Taiwan to contribute 1 million euros to a Mongolia Cooperation Fund that will be used solely to help Mongolia develop private enterprises. Taiwan, officially known as "Taipei China" to the bank, will form a supervisory board with three other donors -- Japan, the Netherlands and Luxembourg -- and meet twice a year to review past performances and determine the priority of new projects.
In an interview with the CNA prior to his departure for Tashkent, EBRD President Lemierre said that his bank has enjoyed significant support from Taiwan for both technical cooperation and official co-financing over the past 12 years.
"We are pleased to see this support continuing, especially as our work moves into countries in Central Asia," he said.
Lemierre also said that Taiwanese companies interested in increasing their investments in Central and Eastern Europe are encouraged to discuss their needs in the areas of trade facilitation and project financing with the EBRD.
Tien, former minister of foreign affairs who is now Taiwan's de-facto ambassador to the UK, said that Taiwan treasure its cooperative relationship with the EBRD and will continue to broaden the mutually beneficial relationship.
He pointed out that Taiwan and Mongolia established representative offices in each other's capital last year, and that the 1 million euros contribution to the Mongolia Cooperation Fund shows Taiwan is attaching great importance to its relationship with Mongolia.
Tien noted that since Taiwan made its initial contribution of US$10 million to the EBRD in 1991, followed with subsequent donations, funds have been used to help many countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as of the Commonwealth of Independent States in their transitions to market economies. A small portion of the funds has been set aside to allow the EBRD to recruit Taiwanese experts to assist in its operations.
The EBRD is owned by 62 share holders -- 60 countries plus the European Investment Bank and the European Community. The bank was founded after the collapse of communism in 1991 to help former Communist states in Central and Eastern Europe to change from centrally planned economies to market ones.