Fri, Sep 07, 2012 - Page 13 News List

MAC minister asks EU to pursue trade pact with Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

The EU should actively promote an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) with Taiwan to expand and deepen bilateral economic ties and cooperation, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said in Brussels on Wednesday.

The resumption of dialogue between Taiwan and China in recent years has created a stable environment for economic activities and trade across the Taiwan Strait, a situation favorable to trade and economic ties between Asia and Europe, Lai said in a speech at a conference held by the EU-Asia Center and the Foundation for International Relations and External Dialogue.

Since Taiwan and Europe have maintained steady economic ties for a long time, signing an ECA would provide economic benefits for both sides, Lai said.

Also, the improvement of cross-strait relations have eased international concerns about China’s possible opposition to such an agreement, she said.

The proposed ECA would help the EU promote its economic strategy in Asia and already has the support of the European people, she added.

“Now is the best time to promote a Taiwan-EU ECA,” Lai said.

Lai had earlier addressed the European Parliament on Taiwan’s cross-strait policy and achievements in improving ties with China.

In response to a question by a parliamentarian, Lai said Beijing was not opposed to a recent decision by Taiwan to refer to its overseas representatives as “ambassadors.” She attributed the response to the Taipei’s efforts to improve relations with China.

Similarly, she said, Beijing had not expressed displeasure to Taipei over the three arms packages procured from the US during President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) first term in office, although China did protest to Washington and briefly suspended military-to-military exchanges with the US.

Regarding the “East China Sea peace initiative” proposed by Ma, Lai said the president sincerely hoped that all concerned parties could resolve their territorial disputes in the East China Sea through peaceful means, and she suggested that the European Parliament adopt a resolution in support of the initiative.

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