The European Union (EU) covers a large part of the continent of Europe, from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Aegean Sea. Though richly diverse, the countries that make up the EU (its 'member states') are all committed to the same fundamental values: peace, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. They seek to promote these values, to build and share prosperity and to exert their collective influence by acting together on the world stage.
Over half a century, the Union has raised its citizens' standard of living to unprecedented levels. It has created a frontier-free single market and a single currency, the euro. It is a major economic power and the world leader in development aid. Its membership has grown from 6 to 25 nations. A further two expect to join in 2007. The enlarged EU of 27 countries will have a population of nearly half a billion.
The EU today faces new challenges, not least globalisation. To become more competitive while remaining a fair and caring society, the EU needs to et more people into new and better jobs and to give them new skills. The EU is over four times more densely populated than the United States and about 40 times more so than Canada. But it has only about a third the population density of Japan. Population density puts pressure on the environment and natural resources which is one reason why sustainable development is a top priority for the EU today.
The EU is deeply committed to protecting and nurturing the environment. The EU has become more and more effective in environmental protection by agreeing policies, passing laws and introducing measures to implement them, providing help to clean up pollution, carrying out groundbreaking research into environmental innovations, and making people more aware of the issues. On a worldwide level, the Union continues to play a decisive role, for example taking the lead in pressing for countries to implement effective measures to combat climate change.
EU - Taiwan trade relations
The EU is Taiwan's fourth overall trading partner, after China, Japan and the United States, but the EU is Taiwan's third largest client, in front of Japan. In 2004, according to Taiwan Customs Statistics, the total bilateral trade between the EU and Taiwan reached 39 billion USD, 11.4% of Taiwan's total external trade.
From a European standpoint, Taiwan is the EU's 10th biggest trading partner, with approximately 2% share of the EU's external trade. Taiwan, which ranks higher than more populated EU trade partners such as Brazil or India, kept this outstanding position in 2004.
An Excellent 2004 Vintage
Indeed, EU - Taiwan bilateral trade has continued to grow in 2004! Overall, the EU - Taiwan trade in goods grew by 18.6% in 2004, following a more than 9% increase in 2003. With these high figures, a historical record was broken, and the trade volume surpassed its highest level since 2000.
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