TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan called for pre-negotiation work to start on a possible Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIA) on Friday (Sept. 17), after the European Union (EU) announced the previous day it wanted to bolster its trade relationship and step up strategic engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
In the European Commission's newly released report about its strategy in the Indo-Pacific, it described Taiwan as an important partner to establish semiconductor supply chains, and to have a dialogue on data protection. The bloc also pledged to deepen its trade and investment ties with the country, as the two sides haven’t signed BIAs or enjoyed official diplomatic relations.
Titled, ”The EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” the paper also warns of China's military build-up, displays of force and increasing tension in the South China and East China seas and the Taiwan Strait. This was having what the EU described as “a direct impact on European security and prosperity.”
In response, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said preparations should begin on a possible BIA. Taiwan has been listed as a potential entity to sign a BIA since 2015 and finally received backing from the European Parliament in July.
In a statement, MOFA welcomed the EU’s emphasis on peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. It also hoped preliminary work on a BIA could be done soon, such as an impact assessment, scoping exercise, and public consultations.
“As a like-minded partner of the EU with core values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, Taiwan will continue to bolster cooperation in the supply chain reorganization for semiconductors and other related strategic industries, as well as digital economy, green energy, and post-epidemic economic recovery,” MOFA said.