Sat, Feb 18, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Economics ministry to lobby Europe on trade deal

ECONOMIC COOPERATION AGREEMENT:economic cooperation agreement: A delegation will try to sell the deal to officials and business leaders, after South Korea’s attempt at an FTA was vetoed

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Sheng-chung (林聖忠) is set to lead a delegation to Europe from today to Feb. 26 to lobby for a future Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) between Taiwan and the EU.

Lin will lead officials and members of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, Investment Commission, the Industrial Development Bureau, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research and the Chinese National Federation of Industries for the visits to Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels.

The purpose is to meet government officials and members from various industrial associations in those EU nations to tell them of the benefits to trade and bilateral investment that would come with a bilateral ECA, a ministry -statement said.

The vice minister will also meet with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and foreign-based officials from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to further discuss promoting a trade agreement with the EU and how the nation could cope with possible knock-on effects from the eurozone debt crisis.

Lin said in the statement that lobbying the industrial associations would be the main task of the trip because the opinions of industry leaders were highly valued by the EU Commission.

South Korea’s attempt to sign a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the EU was vetoed by several EU industrial associations.

In France, a country that plays a pivotal role in the EU Commission’s decisionmaking process, Lin will meet with enterprise alliances, business associations and auto parts manufacturing groups to put forward the nation’s conception of the agreement.

Germany’s wholesale and trade association has already said it would help the Ministry of Economic Affairs to arrange a meeting between the Taiwanese delegation and members from the relevant local commercial and industrial associations.

Belgium has also agreed to facilitate a similar process, the statement added.

A highlight of the trip will be when Lin meets the advisers of the European Central Bank, which has played a prominent role in dealing with the eurozone crisis.

First-hand information obtained at the meeting will enable the country to prepare for any unforeseen circumstances that might arise as a result of the crisis.

Taiwanese enterprises conducting business in these countries will be invited to attend the briefings on Taiwan’s latest investment policies and the ministry will welcome any feedback from them.

The opinions of these entrepreneurs are equally important, as they will be heavily involved in supporting any Taiwan-EU agreement, the ministry said.

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