Sat, Oct 04, 2014 - Page 1 News List

UK economy official cancels plan to visit Taipei yuan forum

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

British Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrea Leadsom, who was planning to visit Taipei and Hong Kong next week to promote offshore yuan markets, canceled the trips on Thursday, citing emergency matters at home, the Bankers Association of the ROC (銀行公會) said yesterday.

The association is sponsoring a forum on Taiwan-UK offshore yuan business opportunities in Taipei on Tuesday, at which Leadsom had agreed to give a keynote speech and meet with Taiwanese officials of the central bank, the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Supervisory Commission.

“We received a notice from the British Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei that the member of [the UK] parliament could not make the trip after all,” an official at the bankers’ association said by telephone.

The cultural office attributed the last-minute change to constituent concerns in the UK, but did not elaborate. The country is due to elect new parliamentary members in the first half of next year.

Leadsom, who is the Conservative Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, England, is responsible for boosting the UK’s offshore finance businesses. The 51-year-old would have been the first high-ranking UK official to visit Taipei since then-British minister of state for trade and investment Stephen Green in 2011.

Bankers’ association chairwoman Lee Chi-chu (李紀珠), who is also head of state-owned Taiwan Financial Holding Co (台灣金控), flew to London two weeks ago to help confirm the visit, the association said.

The cultural office issued a statement yesterday, saying Leadsom had to postpone her trip due to emergent matters in her constituency.

The trade office offers apology for any inconvenience caused by the schedule change, the statement said.

The yuan forum will go ahead as scheduled, despite Leadsom’s absence, the association said.

“The ongoing student protests in Hong Kong makes the visit somewhat politically sensitive and awkward,” an association official said on condition of anonymity.

Lee is to push for Taiwan-UK cooperation in offshore yuan business and other matters, the association said.

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