President talks up Taiwan-U.K. free trade deal

2017/04/13 20:52:30 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, right). Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, right). Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office

Taipei, April 13 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Thursday while meeting a visiting delegation of British parliamentarians that the government's stance on promoting free trade agreements (FTA) with other countries remains unchanged and expressed hope Taiwan and the United Kingdom might sign such an agreement.

Tsai also told the delegation led by Lord Steel of Aikwood, co-chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group of the U.K. Parliament, that as a major player in various industry supply chains around the world, Taiwan has plenty of opportunities to cooperate with the U.K. in either conventional or innovative industries.

In recent years, based on their shared values, Taiwan-U.K. bilateral exchanges have grown stronger as shown by a series of visits to Taiwan by British officials last year. They included Lord Mayor of the City of London Jeffrey Mountevans, U.K. Minister of State in the Department for International Trade Greg Hands, the British prime minister's trade envoy to Taiwan, Lord Faulkner and U.K. Special Representative for Climate Change Sir David King, according to Tsai.

In terms of parliamentary exchanges, three groups of British parliamentarians visiting Taiwan last year, while a delegation of Taiwan's legislators paid a visit to the U.K. last September, Tsai said.

Trade and investment are the most important aspect of bilateral relations between the two countries, the president said. As one of Taiwan's major trade partners and fifth largest source of investment, the U.K. is important for Taiwan's continued economic development, she added.

At a time when the U.K. is seeking to strengthen ties with other countries as it seeks to withdraw from the EU, Taiwan's key role in global supply chains, presents multiple opportunities for cooperation with U.K. businesses.

Noting the U.K. was the first country in Europe to grant visa-free treatment to Taiwanese nationals, Tsai said that she hopes the two countries will continue to deepen ties through exchanges and cooperation in the areas of culture, education and tourism.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao)

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