President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has called on the EU to establish a bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan because of the role it could play as a democratic and economic partner.
“Taiwan is ready to be an indispensable partner to Europe, not only on democratic renewal, but also on biotechnology, renewable energy, data protection, ocean governance and semiconductors,” Tsai said in a video address to the Forum 2000 Conference on Monday.
Taiwan’s world-renowned high-tech sector would also play a “critical role in creating a secure global supply chain that protects key technologies,” she said.
She encouraged the EU to sign an investment agreement with Taiwan, as it “would strengthen our mutual interests and solidify our shared values.”
Founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of then-Czech president Vaclav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, Forum 2000 is a foundation and a conference of the same name held annually in Prague.
At the invitation of the foundation, Tsai first attended the conference last year, when it was held virtually due to COVID-19.
Tsai’s call for a Taiwan-EU investment agreement came after the EU last month announced that it would soon launch a “Global Gateway” campaign to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Also last month, the EU said in a joint communication that it planned to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific region, in the areas of health, security, data, infrastructure, the environment, oceans and trade.
The document, titled the Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, specified the EU’s intention to seek a trade deal with Taiwan, as part of its strategy to counter China’s influence in the region.
“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,” the joint communication said.
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