The director of the French Office in Taipei, Olivier Richard, yesterday called for solutions to non-tariff barriers which impede French exports from accessing Taiwan’s market, saying there is room for improvement in bilateral economic and trade relations.
Richard, who assumed the position in November last year, made the remarks in Mandarin at a reception in Taipei celebrating the 223rd French National Day yesterday.
Taiwan and France have built up cooperation in culture and technology, with professionals in various institutions in the two countries maintaining good contacts, he said.
However, there is room to improve trade and economic relations, Richard said, as he pointed out that France was only Taiwan’s 24th-largest trading partner last year.
This could be attributed to various reasons, he said, with the foremost being the onerous non-tariff barriers in Taiwan that serve as obstacles to international trade.
Richard called for both countries to find mutually feasible solutions to lift the trade barriers through exchanges of views and reciprocal understanding.
He said France would continue its efforts to facilitate trade through the bilateral industrial cooperation consultation meeting, which is held annually to increase communications with senior government officials and enhance economic cooperation.
In her remarks on behalf of the Taiwanese government in honor of Bastille Day, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Vanessa Shih (史亞平) expressed the wish that the French government grant Taiwanese working-holiday visas in the near future.
The ministry has been in negotiations with its French counterpart over a Taiwan-France working holiday agreement since late 2010, and earlier last year the ministry said France was poised to grant Taiwanese nationals working holiday visas.
At a routine press briefing on July 5, Yaser Cheng (鄭泰祥), deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of European Affairs, said the issue was hindered by the high unemployment rate in France, but added the ministry hoped that the agreement could be completed by end of this year.