Mon, Dec 04, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Agriculture, energy to gain by UK talks

BIG OPPORTUNITIES:The talks yielded signed agreements and a consensus for further dialogue between Taiwan and the UK, the nation’s third-largest trading partner in Europe

Staff writer, with CNA

The 20th round of trade talks between Taiwan and the UK, which were held in London on Friday, aimed to enhance cooperation in the agriculture and energy industries, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) led the Taiwanese delegation at the talks, which yielded a consensus to set up a platform next year to discuss cooperation in the agriculture and energy sectors.

Wang and British Minister of State for Trade and Investment Greg Hands presided over this year’s meeting at a time when Taipei and London have seen their bilateral economic ties increase.

In the first 10 months of this year, two-way trade between Taiwan and the UK totaled US$4.69 billion, up 3.2 percent from a year earlier.

The UK is Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner in Europe, while investment by UK firms in Taiwan was the second-highest among EU members, the ministry said.

“The UK and Taiwan have a very strong trade and investment relationship,” Wang said in a statement, adding that the UK is a priority destination for Taiwanese investment in Europe.

Hands said the new dialogue is expected to bring big business opportunities to UK firms, as Taiwan is planning to raise renewable energy production from 4 percent of the total energy supply to 20 percent by 2025.

“Our new trade dialogues in agriculture and energy will offer UK expertise in leading industries,” Hands said in the statement.

Upcoming dialogue about energy development is expected to bolster cooperation in offshore wind energy, with the UK as a key partner of Taiwan in the area, the UK Department for International Trade said.

Both sides have agreed to resolve remaining issues on agricultural cooperation, which is expected to lead Taiwan to lift a ban on British pork.

In addition, the two sides signed an agreement to make it easier for UK-made specialized medicines to be used in Taiwan, while both have agreed to build on the UK’s financial service exports to Taiwan last year — worth US$208 million — to push for financial technology exchanges between the two nations.

Taiwan and the UK also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate the process of filing patent applications involving biological material.

The MOU reflects an increasing number of patent applications from the UK in the biomedical sciences that use biological material, the Intellectual Property Office said.

Taiwan’s Patent Act (專利法) stipulates that patent applications must deposit samples of biological materials with a domestic depository agency, but the MOU effectively simplifies the process by eliminating the inconveniences of depositing biological materials in a foreign country and decreases the costs associated with it, the Intellectual Property Office said in a statement.

Both sides are looking to increase the number of biotechnology, medicine and food patents each nation files with the other, it said.

The first round of Taiwan-UK trade talks took place in 1991, with new talks having taken place almost every year since then.

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