The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday pledged to continue talking to the EU to push for a bilateral investment agreement (BIA), saying that it would be a natural continuation of the two sides’ trade partnership.
Responding to media inquiries at a news conference in Taipei regarding progress on an agreement between Taiwan and the EU, Department of European Affairs Deputy Head Chen Hsin-hsin (陳欣新) said that the ministry has tried to garner support from European lawmakers and academics friendly to Taiwan in the hope of starting the negotiation process as soon as possible.
“Both Taiwan and the EU attach great importance to our bilateral trade and hope to boost this trading partnership,” Chen said, adding that the inking of a BIA would be a natural result of that partnership and that both sides have laid down a solid foundation for an agreement.
Asked whether a perceived delay in the beginning of negotiations was due to pressure from China, Chen did not give a direct answer, saying only that “Chinese pressure is everywhere.”
Nevertheless, Taiwan and the EU have been in regular contact about a BIA and the government has made efforts to show the EU that signing a pact would be mutually beneficial, Chen said.
Most EU countries are supportive of an agreement with Taiwan, she said, adding that the ministry is “cautiously optimistic” about the matter.
There have been concerns that the prospects of an agreement have deteriorated after the government in late August executed a death-row inmate after a 27-month hiatus.
However, European Economic and Trade Office Director Madeleine Majorenko last month told reporters that the EU does not engage with its partners in a way where it “holds one thing hostage in order to deal with another issue.”
As to whether Taiwan and the EU have identified new areas for cooperation following Brussels’ launch of an EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy in September, Chen said that the sides have been talking about possibilities for cooperation.
The government hopes that the EU strategy could connect with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) New Southbound Policy, she said.
In other news, the 14th Taiwan European Film Festival is to open today and run through January.
Free screenings are planned of 17 movies from as many European countries at more than 30 colleges, cultural centers and art venues across Taiwan, Chen said.
Since the festival was launched in 2005, it has attracted more than 140,000 people and has successfully shared Europe’s cultural diversity, art and languages with Taiwanese audiences, she said.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
PIVOTAL ROLE: Taiwan’s importance in the global chip supply chain can be bolstered by domestic equipment manufacturing, President Tsai Ing-wen said Efforts must be made to better secure Taiwan’s place in the global supply chain by localizing production of equipment and facilities used by the semiconductor industry, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. Tsai discussed the issue during a meeting with representatives from the Taiwan Electronic Equipment Industry Association at the Presidential Office in Taipei. Product shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic — particularly of automotive chips — highlighted the pivotal role of Taiwan in the global supply chain, she said. Tsai thanked the association for cooperating with the government on the shared goal of localizing production of important semiconductor industry equipment.
SEPARATE CASE? A woman tested positive when she went with her daughter to be tested, because her daughter had taken the same bus to school as a steakhouse worker The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 10 local COVID-19 cases, six of whom had visited a steakhouse in Taoyuan where an infection cluster has been reported. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that of the 10 local infections, one case — No. 17,928 — is a Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport disease prevention staffer who works in the area where inbound travelers collect their saliva for a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and sometimes at the fever screening station. The staffer had tested negative in a PCR test on Jan. 9 and
TRACING UNDER WAY: The CECC has identified six transmission chains among 25 recently confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those linked to a restaurant and a bank The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 54 new COVID-19 infections — 44 imported and 10 local — and identified six transmission chains among local cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the imported cases are 18 who tested positive upon arrival at the airport and 26 who tested positive during quarantine. Of the local cases, seven are associated with a cluster infection at a Tasty Steak (西堤牛排) outlet in Taoyuan’s Zhongli District (中壢), one is linked to a family of four with COVID-19 reported on Monday, one is a family member of an