TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan-Slovakia Exchange Association was established Monday (Nov. 16).
The non-governmental organization was formed to promote exchanges between Taiwan and Central and Eastern European countries and is officially supported by both Taiwan and Slovakia. On Monday afternoon, the association held its first meeting at Soochow University, which has Taiwan’s only research center devoted to central and eastern Europe. Both the center and the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office Taipei are promoting the fledgling organization.
Slovak Representative Martin Podstavek said the exchange association symbolizes the heart, mind, and soul of the Taiwan-Slovakia in addition to promoting official bilateral interactions, CNA reported.
He pointed out that most of the founding members are long-term Taiwanese friends of Slovakia and include professors, entrepreneurs, diplomats, technicians, and writers. Although born in Taiwan, they "have a Slovak soul," he stated, adding: “I believe they will use their years of expertise and extensive knowledge in various fields to push the relationship between Taiwan and Slovakia to new heights.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁) said Taiwan and Slovakia are closely linked in many important areas.
In the field of economics and trade, three large Taiwanese companies, including Foxconn, have chosen to make good use of Slovakia's strategic advantages in central Europe and invest there. In terms of education and culture, Tseng added that Taiwan provides Slovaks with scholarships to study Chinese.
Taiwan and Slovakia have also signed several important agreements in recent years, including the 2011 Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income Tax and Prevention of Tax Evasion. Additionally, Taiwanese citizens have been able to renew their driving licenses in Slovakia without a test since 2012.
The inaugural meeting was also attended by the deputy director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) European Affairs division, the director of MOFA’s East Asia and Pacific Affairs division, the deputy cultural minister, the president of Soochow University, and representatives from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Belize, Russia, and other countries.