The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday urged the EU to start preparations for negotiating a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan, after the bloc expressed its intention to boost cooperation with Taiwan in semiconductors and other areas.
The EU on Thursday adopted a Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, after the European Council on April 19 approved the strategy.
In the report, the EU said it intends to increase engagements with Indo-Pacific partners, based on promoting democracy, the rule of law, human rights and universally agreed commitments, such as those related to sustainable development and climate change.
The document said that “there has been a significant military buildup, including by China, with the Indo-Pacific’s share of global military spending increasing from 20 percent of the world total in 2009 to 28 percent in 2019.”
“The display of force and increasing tensions in regional hot spots such as in the South and East China Sea and in the Taiwan Strait may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” it said. “There is also an increase in hybrid threats, including on cybersecurity.”
As resilient value chains are essential for recovery, the EU would work with its Indo-Pacific partners to reinforce value chains and develop cooperation in strategic sectors, it said.
“For semiconductors, for example, it will do so with partners such as Japan, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan,” it said.
After drawing blueprints for concluding or negotiating economic agreements with Australia, India, Indonesia and New Zealand, it said “the EU will also pursue its deep trade and investment relationships with partners with whom it does not have trade and investment agreements, such as Taiwan.”
To promote safe and free data flows, the EU has worked with Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, it said.
“Other partners such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand have adopted, or are putting in place, modern data protection laws. This could possibly pave the way for future adequacy talks,” it said.
MOFA welcomed the bloc’s joint communication, which for the first time explicitly included Taiwan in its Indo-Pacific strategy and continued to express concern about the situation across the Taiwan Strait.
Over the past few months, the EU has frequently turned its attention to the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait through joint statements or communiques with other countries, the ministry said.
Enhancing cooperation with Taiwan in semiconductors, information and communications technology, and other strategic industries would help the EU reinforce its supply chains and achieve its goal of “open strategic autonomy,” it added.
The ministry said it would boost cooperation with the EU, but also urged the bloc to follow several resolutions passed by the European Parliament to commence preparations for negotiating a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan, such as impact assessments, public consultation and scope identification.
The EU-Taiwan Political Relations and Cooperation report passed by the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs on Sept. 1 also recommended the bloc start preparations for an investment pact with Taiwan.
The report and related proposals are pending votes by a plenary session next month.
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