Sun, Oct 15, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Trade chief hails progress after Taiwan-UK summit

AIRING CONCERNS The head of the Board of Foreign Trade discussed visa applications and driver's licenses, while allaying British fears on copyright infringements

CNA , LONDON AND TAIPEI, WITH STAFF WRITER

Taiwan and the UK reached consensus on several issues during trade talks between the two sides, Board of Foreign Trade (BOFT) Director-General Huang Chih-peng (黃志鵬) said on Friday.

Huang made the remarks one day after the conclusion of the 13th Taiwan-UK trade talks, which were held at Britain's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in London.

Huang said that Taiwan's representative office in the UK had conducted a survey on 155 Taiwanese businesspeople operating in Britain last August. The results of the survey showed that the average processing time for their applications to work in the UK was between one and two weeks, representing a marked improvement over the waiting period of one to two months previously.

However, the survey showed that residence visas still take between four and seven weeks to process, and Britain's Home Department also demands that applicants leave their passports with the department, resulting in inconveniences for Taiwanese businesspeople who need to travel overseas.

British officials agreed to relay Huang's suggestions to the Home Department.

In addition, the international driver's license issued by Taiwan is valid for only one year in Britain. If Taiwanese nationals want to operate a vehicle in Britain after one year, they must apply for a British driver's license and pass the relevant tests, which Huang said was both time consuming and costly.

With eight European countries, including France, Italy and Belgium, recognizing the Taiwanese driver's license, Huang urged the UK to follow suit.

The British officials agreed to relay Huang's suggestion to the related government agencies and said that mutual recognition by Taiwan and Britain of each other's driver licenses could be achieved within one year.

On British concerns regarding the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), Huang explained the government's progress in enforcing relevant laws and cracking down on violators.

The government will also inaugurate an IPR court in March or April next year, and there will be around 40 judges versed in the field, he said.

He also said that IPR protection will require cross-border cooperation, suggesting a strengthening of customs affairs cooperation between the two countries.

Separately, a delegation formed by Taiwan's Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association (CIECA) yesterday departed for Eastern Europe for a trade and investment promotion tour.

The delegation of approximately 20 people is led by Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry chairman Huang Po-chih (黃博治), and will travel to the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, CIECA officials said.

In the Czech Republic, the delegation will participate in the 5th Conference of the Taiwanese-Czech Joint Business Council scheduled for tomorrow in Prague and the 9th Taiwanese-Polish Economic Cooperation Conference scheduled for Oct. 20, the officials said.

They said the conferences, which are held alternately in the Czech Republic and Poland every year, have served as a platform for exchanges and regular contact between businesspeople from the two sides.

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