Taiwan and UK discuss removing trade barriers in key talks

Talks covered offshore wind energy, education, tech, medical cooperation

Taiwanese officials participating in annual trade talks with UK on Oct. 22. (British Office Taipei photo)

Taiwanese officials participating in annual trade talks with UK on Oct. 22. (British Office Taipei photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Greg Hands, the minister of state for Trade Policy in the UK's Department for International Trade, wrapped up his two-day virtual tour to Taiwan Thursday evening (Oct. 22) with a bilateral trade talk covering a wide range of topics, including medial, fintech, education, and energy cooperation.

The trade dialogue, in its 23rd edition this year, highlighted the important trade and investment relationship between Taiwan and the UK in areas such as education, technology, and innovation, observed Hands. Over the past two days, the minister had a number of meetings with Taiwanese officials that took place virtually due to the ongoing pandemic.

Describing the bilateral discussions as constructive, the minister expressed appreciation for the talks about lifting mutual market barriers at a time when the global economy has been shaken up by the coronavirus. “Great to get stuck into removing remaining barriers to U.K. firms in health, offshore wind, banking, FinTech, whisky, beef & lamb,” he later tweeted.

Taiwan’s Vice Economic Minister Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺) commented during the meeting that even though global trade has been impacted by U.S.-China tensions, COVID-19, and Brexit, these circumstances have created an opportunity for a deeper partnership between Taiwan and the UK. Taiwan looks forward to strengthening its industry-level cooperation with the UK on developing testing kits and promoting offshore wind energy and semiconductors, he noted.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the UK is Taiwan’s third-largest trade partner in Europe, and bilateral trade this year reached US$3.7 billion by September. The British Office Taipei said Taiwan is the UK’s seventh-largest trade partner from the Asia-Pacific region.

In a statement, the Office underlined the potential of bilateral collaboration on alternative energy, as both countries have set ambitious goals to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions in the coming years. As many as 26 offshore wind energy firms from the UK have begun their operations in Taiwan, it noted.