Sat, Dec 10, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Lawmaker touts Italian trade at association launch

FRIENDSHIP:Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office Representative Donato Scioscioli said more firms should go to Italy, while Taiwanese soccer needs help

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said organic farming in Italy and bilateral trade and cultural exchanges with the European nation were discussed when they inaugurated the Taiwan-Italy Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association at the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

“There are many similarities between agricultural production in Taiwan and Italy,” DPP Legislator Tsai Pei-hui (蔡培慧) said in opening remarks. “Both countries have a strong tradition of family farming, with more rural communities taking up organic farming. Now we have many people wanting to introduce Italy’s agricultural diversity, self-sufficiency of food production and the Italian idea of ‘slow food’ to Taiwan.”

“Slow food,” promoted as an alternative to fast food, seeks to preserve traditional and regional cuisine using local ecosystems and farmers.

Tsai said that Taiwan’s society is concerned about healthy lifestyles and food safety, so Taiwanese should learn more about sustainable agriculture, food safety certification and organic food from Italy.

Tsai has done academic research on agricultural economics and public policy for rural-community development and she headed the effort to launch the association with the support of fellow DPP lawmakers.

Tsai was named chairperson of the association, with DPP legislators Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) and Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) made deputies at the inauguration event, which was attended by Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office (IETCPO) Representative Donato Scioscioli and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

Yu said Taiwan can learn from Italy’s advanced fashion, clothing designs, architecture, arts and entertainment, and other creative culture industries.

Scioscioli said Taiwan and Italy signed an agreement on avoidance of mutual taxation in January and he expects to see more Taiwanese in Italy, enhanced trade and business relationships and more exchange programs in the cultural, scientific, arts and entertainment industries.

He said that Italy is Taiwan’s fifth-largest trade partner in the EU, just behind Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France, with bilateral trade exceeding NT$4 billion (US$126 million) last year.

About 60 Taiwanese firms have business investments in Italy, he said.

Scioscioli said he wanted to promote sports, especially Italian soccer, in Taiwan and would like to have more Serie A matches on television.

“I have been looking for Taiwanese interested in football and have plans to talk to TV networks here hoping they will have weekly screenings of Italian Serie A matches,” he told the Taipei Times.

“In Taiwan, they have the Champions League, Premier League and Bundesliga on TV, but that is not enough. We would like to have Taiwan’s publicly available networks broadcast Serie A fixtures as well,” he said.

The association can enhance bilateral trade and cultural exchanges, while it can also bring Italian sports expertise to the nation, Scioscioli said, adding that it would help Taiwanese soccer develop at the grassroots and club levels.

He said that big soccer names like former players Paolo di Canio and Alessandro del Piero, who played for Italy, could visit Taiwan, while off-season tours by leading Italian clubs like AC Milan, Juventus, SS Lazio and AS Roma would help.

Scioscioli said the office would certainly support such initiatives and work with others to promote Italian soccer in Taiwan.

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