Wed, Jan 16, 2008 - Page 11 News List

EU economic office urges Taiwanese to invest in Europe

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei yesterday encouraged Taiwanese businesses to expand investment in the 27-member state EU, which has a total population of 500 million people and accounts for 25 percent of the world's GDP.

Taiwan is currently the EU's 14th largest trading partner, accounting for 1.9 percent of EU's imports and 1.1 percent of EU exports, Guy Ledoux, the office's head, told a seminar yesterday.

The EU is Taiwan's fourth largest trade partner, accounting for 11 percent of the nation's exports and 9.5 percent of Taiwan's imports, Ledoux added.

"There's a substantial link between Taiwan and EU, but we need to make it stronger," he said.

He added that Taiwan lagged behind six other Asian economies -- including Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea -- in making EU-bound investments last year, while it once, in 2000, outperformed South Korea.

Currently, Taiwanese electronics brands such as BenQ (明基), Acer and Tatung (大同) as well as bicycle maker Giant (巨大) have set up shops in the EU.

The lack of a consulting agency to evaluate the investment risk has been attributed to Taiwan's slim investment share in Europe, Wang Chung-yu (王鍾渝), vice chairman of the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association, said at the seminar.

Wen Si-chuang, chairman of Kinka Corp, sided with Wang, saying that Taiwanese corporations have a fear of investing in Europe simply because the cost is high compared to developing countries like China and India.

Another major concern in some EU countries is the language barrier, Wen said.

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