UK trade policy minister in Taiwan for talks

George Hollingbery is in the country for trade talks on Sept. 25

George Hollingbery (left) / photo courtesy of British Office Taipei

George Hollingbery (left) / photo courtesy of British Office Taipei

TAIPEI (CNA) -- A leading British trade official arrived in Taiwan on Sunday hoping to reduce bilateral barriers in this year's trade talks between the United Kingdom and Taiwan on Sept. 25, according to the British Office Taipei.

"I am delighted to be in Taipei for the 21st annual trade talks with Taiwan, building ever closer links in the world's fastest growing region," George Hollingbery, the U.K. Minister for Trade Policy at the Department for International Trade, said in a statement Sunday.

The meeting, to be chaired by Hollingbery and Wang Mei-hua (王美花), deputy minister of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, will focus on building stronger trade and investment links and resolving market access issues, said the statement issued by the U.K. representative office in Taiwan.

Among the issues to be discussed are improving market access for the U.K.'s food and drink industry and pharmaceutical sector, the office told CNA.

U.K.-Taiwan bilateral trade rose to 5.5 billion pounds (US$7.37 billion) last year, making Taiwan the U.K.'s 8th largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region, the statement said.

The bilateral trade has supported jobs and prosperity in both economies, Hollingbery said. "It is vital that we ease barriers to trade wherever we can, even before we leave the EU."

The British Office Taipei said the annual trade talks will also celebrate the recent introduction of British pork products to the Taiwanese market. Taiwan opened its pork market for the first time to British exporters on Aug. 6.

Hollingbery will witness a signing of a memorandum of understanding between the British Office Taipei and the Taiwan Financial Services Roundtable, a cross-industry financial service association, to boost co-operation and promote financial technology.

During his three-day stay in Taipei, Hollingbery will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津), and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) to discuss bilateral trade relations and opportunities for growth, according to the office.

Hollingbery is being joined by Natalie Black, Her Majesty's Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Region, the office said.