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UK envoy to Taiwan lists climate change, trade as key areas of bilateral cooperation

Representative also mentioned science and technology, bilingual education as important matters of collaboration

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British Representative John Dennis at Thursday's luncheon meeting. (Taiwan News photo, Chang Ya-chun)

British Representative John Dennis at Thursday's luncheon meeting. (Taiwan News photo, Chang Ya-chun)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The British Office Taipei (BOT) on Thursday (April 22) emphasized during a luncheon meeting with local media that Taiwan-U.K. cooperation will focus on climate change and trade in the coming years.

British representative John Dennis pointed out that U.K.-Taiwan bilateral trade has grown continuously in recent years, reaching £7.1 billion (US$9.84 billion) in value — a nearly 30-percent increase since 2017.

The U.K. is the most popular country in Europe for Taiwan investment, with more than £64 million worth of investments in 2019, according to Dennis. Meanwhile, the U.K. is the top investor among European nations in Taiwan, with investment in the East Asian nation reaching £450 million in 2020, he said.

In his speech, the envoy pointed out that Taiwan is the largest offshore wind (OSW) market for the U.K. in Asia, with 28 OSW supply chain companies now established in the country and many serving as a hub in the Asia Pacific region. “U.K. Export Finance has now provided credit guarantees of £500 million to finance three offshore wind projects since 2019,” he added.

Dennis also said that he looks forward to the upcoming annual trade talks in October to further bolster bilateral trade.

Regarding climate change, the envoy stated that the U.K. is continuously promoting climate action initiatives to rally leadership and support from the local authorities, cities, businesses, and investors as it strives to reach a net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

“We have been working with stakeholders in Taiwan on a range of projects including for example supporting a study on carbon pricing options for Taiwan and hosting workshops on green finance,” he said.

Dennis also praised Taiwanese businesses for their proactive action with global climate action initiatives, namely the “Race to Zero” campaign, “Renewable Energy 100,” “Electric Vehicle 100,” and the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

New Taipei City, Taichung City, and Kaohsiung City are already members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, he said. The representative also listed science and technology, bilingual education, and shared values as other important areas of future collaboration.

Dennis mentioned that in the past 100 days, he had met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花), Health Minister, and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中).

Dennis arrived in Taiwan in December 2020. His previous post was as the U.K's. ambassador to Angola from 2014-2018.