I am delighted to be here in Taiwan this week to promote trade with the UK. This is not my first visit to Taiwan. I first came here in 1991 with a backpack, and most recently in 2011 with a suitcase, as a guest of the Taiwan authorities.
However, this is my first time here as a minister, and it comes as Britain builds a new future, from a position of strength, from which it continues to be outward-facing, internationally focused and ready to embrace new opportunities.
I was appointed as [British] minister of state in the Department for International Trade on 15 July, three weeks after British voted to leave the EU. Following that historic decision [British] Prime Minister Theresa May set up the Department for International Trade to be responsible for promoting the UK across the world and ensuring we take advantage of the huge opportunities open to us.
The UK is the fifth-largest economy in the world — the second-fastest-growing major economy in the world last year.
We have been and always will be a trading nation and our overseas partners looking to invest in the UK, such as Taiwan, are guaranteed a strong, business-friendly environment. Quite simply, the UK is a great place to do business and that will not change.
A world leader in financial services, insurance, computer and information services and with a global reputation for creativity, it is perhaps unsurprising that the UK is one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business. Supported by super fast broadband coverage, an integrated transport system and low corporation tax, Britain is truly open for business to entrepreneurs who wish to take advantage of the many strengths the UK has to offer.
Throughout my time here in Taiwan I will be delivering a clear message — the UK will continue to thrive and prosper, it will continue to be a reliable ally and trusted partner, its creativity and innovation will not be diminished in any way. And, we will push for the strongest possible economic links with all important partners around the world, including Taiwan.
The UK and Taiwan have long enjoyed a bilateral trading relationship and this is as strong today as it has ever been, with trade volumes growing by 50 percent over the past five years and total bilateral trade in goods and services reaching ￡5.8 billion [US$7.5 billion] in 2014. Taiwan is currently the UK’s sixth-largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region and the UK’s 32nd-largest trading partner globally. From a Taiwanese perspective, we were your third-largest trading partner in Europe last year.
Recent years have seen a massive rise in Taiwanese investment into the UK, with the UK attracting ￡1.2 billion of Taiwanese investment last year, making it the No. 1 investment destination for Taiwan’s investment in Europe last year.
Our education institutions are also world renowned — the UK is home to four of the world’s top 10 universities. We offer foreign students a world-class education at globally respected universities resulting in internationally recognized qualifications and great career prospects. Every year, between 4,000 and 5,000 Taiwanese students choose to study in the UK on long-term courses, and even President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is an alumna from the London School of Economics. We deeply value the many benefits that foreign students bring to the UK and we believe that studying in the UK is still the best investment future leaders and entrepreneurs can make.
I want us to continue developing, strengthening and expanding the many links the UK and Taiwan share in areas of prosperity, trade, education and culture, now and in the years ahead.
I feel sure I will be here many more times in the future.
Greg Hands is British minister of state for trade and investment.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
US President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday last week announced it would impose sanctions on the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a vast paramilitary organization that is directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has been linked to human rights violations against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The sanctions follow US travel bans against other Xinjiang officials and the passage of the US Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorizes targeted sanctions against mainland Chinese and Hong Kong officials, in response to Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on the territory. The sanctions against the corps would be implemented
US President Donald Trump on Thursday issued executive orders barring Americans from conducting business with WeChat owner Tencent Holdings and ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of popular video-sharing app TikTok. The orders are to take effect 45 days after they were signed, which is Sept. 20. The orders accuse WeChat of helping the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) review and remove content that it considers to be politically sensitive, and of using fabricated news to benefit itself. The White House has accused TikTok of collecting users’ information, location data and browsing histories, which could be used by the Chinese government, and pose