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Lord Mayor of London advocates strong partnership with Taiwan
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-15 07:07 PM
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Fiona Woolf, arrived in Taipei on Tuesday for a two-day visit after a short trip in Hong Kong. She was expected to meet some high-ranking officials and business leaders during her visit in a bid to strengthen business ties with Taiwan.

Wednesday, she delivered a keynote speech at a luncheon for members of the British Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (BCCT) and American Chamber of Commerce Taipei, giving an overview of the state of the UK economy such as growing business confidence and a more business-friendly environment to attract more foreign direct investment.

In the meeting, the Lord Mayor also acknowledged an agreement signed last December between the BCCT and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which is scheduled to have a symbolic ceremony on January 23, as a ground-breaking partnership in key market to support the UK Government’s ambitions to increase the volume of exports as well as to promote British brands around the world. Speaking of a more intense global competition, the Lord Mayor added that it is not a zero-sum game. She encouraged the audience to see challenges as opportunities in this interconnected society.

The Lord Mayor met President Ma Ying-jeou Wednesday morning and described him at the luncheon as “animated on the subject of the energy.“ The Lord Mayor recognized the problem of Taiwan as its government is striving to become a free economic island but whose energy demands rely heavily on imports from countries without formal diplomatic ties.

The Lord Mayor also touched renminbi (RMB) business at the luncheon, seeing a fantastic opportunity in RMB and London as the Western center for RMB business instead of only for the West European region. She mentioned the great achievement last year about London becoming an offshore RMB center in the West. Foreign exchange transactions in RMB managed to double in a year and trade finance tripled in the last two years. She expressed the hope to develop good cooperation with Taiwan on RMB issues and the dedication to make London and Taiwan complimentary financial markets under this partnership.

Alderman Fiona Woolf, an energy lawyer, was elected as the 686th Lord Mayor of London for the year 2013/14 last September and as the second woman to hold the role since 1189. As part of her role, the Lord Mayor has an extensive program of foreign visits covering 25 countries over some 90 days to promote the UK-based financial and professional services sector. The Lord Mayor’s visit to Taiwan and Hong Kong in mid-January is her first overseas visit outside Europe as Lord Mayor. She visited the country twice years ago.

BCCT champions the business and social interests of its members in Taiwan. Made up of large and small corporations, individuals, and overseas associations, the BCCT is a strong and cosmopolitan mixture of successful enterprises in diverse industries. The BCCT acts as a key resource for UK companies interested in the Taiwan market by ensuring that businesses, especially SMEs, have a direct line to assistance and networks. They offer a united but unbiased commercial perspective on all issues affecting British business interests in Taiwan, and Taiwan business interests in the UK.

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