The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) has urged authorities in Europe and globally to grant Taiwan observer status in the WHO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), saying that the nation’s meaningful participation is crucial to fighting an ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The chamber has consistently called for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, and the rapid spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China to multiple nations, including Taiwan, renders the plea especially urgent, said the foreign trade group, which represents more than 900 members from 400 companies and organizations.
“Keeping Taiwan out during the outbreak of 2019-nCoV, which has been declared a public health emergency of international concern, puts Taiwan and the world at risk and cannot be justified for any reason,” ECCT chairman Giuseppe Izzo said in a statement on Thursday.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO and World Health Assembly (WHA) activities leaves a serious gap in global efforts to address global health concerns, he said.
Allowing Taiwan to participate in the WHO and ICAO as an observer would ensure that Taiwan does not remain a blind spot in the battle against the epidemic and future global health crises, he added.
Participation in both organizations is especially crucial in a global health crisis, such as the coronavirus, which is spreading from person to person and is exacerbated by global air travel, Izzo said.
In a world where disease knows no borders, Taiwan has much to offer the world in enhancing global efforts to safeguard human health, the chamber said.
“Excluding Taiwan from the WHO and WHA denies Taiwanese access to essential global health information and resources, and ignores the potential contribution Taiwan can make to the WHO, given its excellent healthcare system and medical expertise,” Izzo said.
Participation in WHO and WHA meetings is necessary for Taiwanese authorities to give and receive frequent and comprehensive briefings on global health matters, while participation in ICAO is necessary to stay abreast of developments in international aviation, safety and security, the chamber said.
European firms collectively comprise the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan, with more than US$55 billion in direct foreign investment.
The ECCT has been active in addressing specific concerns and keeps the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as the governments of individual European countries, informed about Taiwan’s business environment.
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