Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 1 News List

EU trade office to open in Taipei next month

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

An Irish senior official with the European Commission is slated to serve as the European Union's (EU) first trade representative to Taiwan when the office opens in Taipei next month, sources said yesterday.

Officials both in Taipei and Brussels have been careful to keep the new representative's name secret.

Compiling the various tidbits of information that have been released in less guarded moments, the new man from the EU is Irish, has worked for the European Commission for nearly 30 years, has a PhD and also has some experience of dealing with Asian affairs.

The EU office, once set up, is expected to boost ties between the EU and its third-largest trading partner in Asia.

A European diplomat has revealed that the number of personnel in the office "won't exceed 10" and that a 100-ping space on Minsheng E. Rd has been selected for the office.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) is slated to announce details with regard to the EU trade office during the ministry's year-end press conference, which is scheduled to take place this morning.

It is, however, up to the EU itself to announce the exact details concering the setting up of its trade office in Taiwan, according the agreement reached between Taipei and Brussels, officials said.

As early as July of last year, the European Commission proposed opening a trade representative office in view of Taiwan's approaching accession to the WTO.

In a report on the issue, the commission said, "With Taiwan soon joining the WTO, the commission is expected to play a major role in monitoring market accession, the application of WTO commitments and other matters related to its policy."

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