European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taiwan Director Filip Grzegorzewski says that his top priorities are to make the EU more visible in Taiwan and to encourage more Taiwanese investment in the bloc.
Grzegorzewski, who took office in September, told the Central News Agency in an interview that he hopes to increase the profile of the EU in Taiwan, particularly to further introduce Europe as an “excellent” investment destination.
Such a task is important because, compared with European investment in Taiwan, Taiwan invests relatively little in Europe, Grzegorzewski said.
Europe has already built a presence in Taiwan, accounting for more than 31 percent of foreign direct investment, the former Polish diplomat said. On the contrary, only 3 percent of Taiwanese investment abroad goes to Europe.
“I think the potential for Taiwanese investment in Europe is much higher,” he said.
There are many advantages to doing business in Europe, as it offers a common market and shared visa policy, as well as freedom of movement, people, capital and services, Grzegorzewski said.
To increase interest in investing in Europe the EETO is to hold an investment forum next year to bring together European and Taiwanese business representatives and officials, he said.
Stronger bilateral trade ties would pave the way for a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) between Taiwan and the EU, he added.
“[A] BIA is an agreement that [could] definitely be very useful for EU-Taiwan relations,” Grzegorzewski said, adding that the timing of it would depend on when the new EU commission decides to take further action on scheduling.
The EU wants to make sure that Taiwan is not cut out from mechanisms of cooperation that are important to the whole world, he said.
“Taiwan is an indispensable part of international relations,” Grzegorzewski said, adding that it is in the EU’s interest for Taiwan to remain stable, predictable, safe and secure.
While the EU adheres to a “one China” policy, the envoy said that Taiwan could play some role in a multilateral framework.
“We want Taiwan to be part of those joint multilateral discussions. I think there is a way to find formats that could allow Taiwan to be part of those international discussions, even if it’s not through formal participation, which is of course not possible,” he said. “Issues such as safety, health and climate change require efforts not only from the members of international organizations, but also those who are not part of those international organizations, including Taiwan.”
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