Mon, May 07, 2012 - Page 3 News List

German MP full of praise for Taiwan achievements

Staff writer, with CNA

Diplomatisches Magazin, a German foreign affairs magazine, published a Taiwan issue this month to celebrate the inauguration of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) second term on May 20.

“I am pleased that the elections led to a special feature on Taiwan,” said Klaus-Peter Willsch, chairman of the Berlin-Taipei Parliamentary Friendship Group and a member of the German parliament.

Willsch argued in the magazine’s editorial that Ma’s re-election seemed to indicate that Taiwanese favored a continuation of policies that have seen generally improved relations with China.

However, the parliamentarian noted that although Taiwan and Germany enjoy flourishing trade relations, political advancement has been difficult due to Germany’s narrow “one China” framework.

Willsch said his group was doing all it could to ensure that no new restrictions are imposed on Taiwan.

“Many colleagues regret that Taiwan is being ‘left by the wayside’ as far as politics is concerned — despite the flourishing trade relations — which is why they are active in the friendship group,” Willsch said.

“The abolition of the Schengen visa requirements and a double taxation treaty signed last year are great achievements, which we have fought for intensively,” he said.

Taiwan is Germany’s fifth--largest trade partner in the -Asia-Pacific region, and last year, bilateral trade between the two countries reached 13 billion euros (US$17 billion), Germany’s parliamentary secretary to the minister of economics and technology, Hans-Joachim Otto, wrote in the magazine.

Otto said that Taiwanese companies are becoming market leaders in information and communications technology, as well as in LED and photovoltaic technology.

Taiwan’s economic development in the Asia-Pacific region has been impressive, he added.

With the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China in 2010, Taiwan had become an alternative gateway for German investors looking to invest in China, Otto said.

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