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Representative to UK sees Brexit as beneficial for Taiwan

New envoy hopes UK will become Taiwan's largest European trading partner

Chin-Hsiang Yao is pictured in his London office in January. (Facebook, Taiwan in the UK photo)

Chin-Hsiang Yao is pictured in his London office in January. (Facebook, Taiwan in the UK photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s newly appointed representative to the UK believes Brexit has allowed closer economic ties between the two sides, and said he hopes to make the UK Taiwan’s largest trading partner in Europe.

UK publication This is Money reported on Monday (Jan. 29) that representative Yao Chin-hsiang (姚金祥) said Britain’s 2020 exit from the European Union had provided it with “more leeway” in trade and foreign policy. Yao said that the move had resulted in more attention being paid towards Taiwan and the Indo-Pacic region.

Trade between the UK and Taiwan has increased over the past decade or so, despite decreasing in 2023 compared to the previous year. In November of 2023, Taiwan signed a trade accord with Britain that was described as a framework for further trade talks on digital trade, green energy, and investments.

This is Money also reported that Yao said he would like to see Britain become Taiwan’s largest investment partner in Europe. He said the UK’s investment in Taiwan was second only to the Netherlands’.

Yao said the UK and Taiwan compliment each other in semiconductor technologies. “Britain is very strong in circuit design and Taiwan is very strong in manufacturing,” he said, adding that he would like to see more collaboration on talent cultivation.

The UK’s presence in Taiwan has been growing in recent years, Yao said. “The ties between our two countries have been expanded.”

However, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU appears to be challenging for citzens and businesses in the northwestern Europen country. Fears of import delays, barriers to tourism, inflation, goods shortages, and regulatory confusion for businesses have all been reported in January in relation to Brexit’s impacts.

Meanwhile, a poll published earlier in January by YouGov found that 51% indicated support for overturning the referendum result that triggered Brexit.

Further than economic effects, some have noted concerns about its impact on democratic systems. Brexit “has damaged what was long thought to be among the world’s most stable democracies,” cheif economic commentator of the Financial Times Martin Wolf wrote in a piece published on Jan. 22.