Tue, Mar 05, 2019 - Page 8 News List

Trade spat frees Taiwan to cooperate with Europe

By Chiang Ya-chi 江雅綺

The annual Munich Security Conference on international security and policy took place again last month. Issues related to information and communications security, as well as Internet regulations and policies, have become increasingly important at the conference.

European countries have not only attached great importance to such issues over the past few years, they have also used legislation and policy to find a different approach from the US and China.

At the UN Internet Governance Forum in Paris in November last year, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that, in contrast with the abuse of personal data in the California-style Internet and the Chinese-style Internet based on totalitarian surveillance and control, the world needs to improve Internet regulations and build a third kind of cyberspace that is safe and trustworthy.

Macron proposed that the international community make rules to ensure a free, open and safe Internet.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that came into effect in May last year is a good indicator, as it has strengthened personal data protection in cyberspace and given ownership of data back to users. After the EU set the tone, even the US has started to discuss whether a privacy protection bill similar to the GDPR is needed.

In 2016, the EU, led by Germany and France, also proposed a controversial draft directive on copyright in the digital single market. Article 11 of the directive requires that Web sites showing link results on their pages pay a “license fee” — also called a “link tax” — to the content providers, and Article 13 requires operators to try their best to prevent content infringements.

Although these seemingly extreme rules might not be passed by the European Parliament, they are a reflection of the EU’s review of Internet development and its ambition to break the rules of the Internet industry, which have long been dominated by the US.

The EU’s attempt to keep its distance from US technology policy is nothing new and it has adopted a set of new strategies connecting it with Asia. It is also paying more attention to and expressing greater friendliness toward Taiwan.

For example, the European Commission released Connecting Europe and Asia: Building blocks for an EU strategy in September last year.

Among several issues, Federica Mogherini, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, called on Asian states to deepen cooperation with the EU on digital and energy issues crucial to the development of technology.

In an op-ed piece titled “Connecting Asia-Pacific and Europe” published in the Taipei Times on Oct. 16 last year, Mogherini said: “In the area of collaborative business and innovation, leading Taiwanese chip companies, for instance, participate in Galileo — the global satellite navigation system operated by the EU.”

European wind power companies, Taiwanese and European operators, officials and academics were invited to a public hearing on Taiwan-Europe trade relations held by the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade.

The hearing has created hope in Taiwan that by linking up the digital and energy high-tech sectors, it might become possible to achieve the difficult task of signing a bilateral trade agreement.

It is clear that as the US and China vie for dominance of the high-tech sector, there is a clear opportunity for Taiwan and Europe to deepen cooperation in the digital and energy sectors.

This story has been viewed 2058 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top