President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday expressed hope that Taiwan and the EU would sign a bilateral economic cooperation agreement soon.
“It will benefit both sides greatly and improve trade and economic relations,” Ma said as he received a German parliamentary delegation at the Presidential Office.
Lauding the good relations and close cooperation between Taiwan and Germany in many areas, such as technology, culture, education and energy, Ma said he hoped that Germany would support Taiwan’s efforts to forge a trade deal with the EU.
Ma also expressed his gratitude to Germany for backing Taiwan’s bid to participate in international groups.
Germany was Taiwan’s largest trade partner in Europe last year, while Taiwan was Germany’s fifth-largest in Asia, with bilateral trade totaling US$13.39 billion, according to official figures.
The EU is currently Taiwan’s fourth-largest trading partner, after China, Japan and the US.
According to a study released in September last year by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan, an EU-Taiwan trade pact is needed now more than it was in 2008, when the first study on such an agreement was published. Last year’s study cited the EU’s crisis, the increased economic importance of Asia and the impact of the EU-South Korea free-trade agreement as reasons for the increased importance.
The study found that an EU-Taiwan pact could boost EU exports to Taiwan by 12 billion euros (US$15.79 billion) a year, while Taiwan’s exports to the EU could rise by 10 billion euros a year.