Europe is looking East. EU-Taiwan relations continue to thrive despite challenges.
The relations between the EU and Taiwan continued to thrive despite challenges posed by the global pandemic and the regional situation. The 2021 EU-Taiwan Relations brochure, launched today by the European Economic and Trade Office, outlines the fruits and achievements of EU-Taiwan bilateral cooperation in the last year, from trade and investment, business and regulatory cooperation, to promoting human rights, research and innovation, climate change, as well as education and cultural exchanges.
“Europe is looking East,” said the Head of the European Economic and Trade Office Filip Grzegorzewski. The Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic centre of gravity. It is home to 60% of the world’s population, producing 60% of the global GDP. The prosperity, stability and sustainable development of the Indo-Pacific is vital to the EU, who is a major partner of the region. The “Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific” adopted last week (16 September) demonstrates the EU’s commitment and determination to strengthen ties with the region. “Taiwan plays a fundamental role in our Indo-Pacific vision due to our shared values, deep economic ties, and Taiwan's key role in global supply chains,” said Grzegorzewski.
The EU remains Taiwan’s largest foreign investor. In 2020, the EU ranked first in both the total stock and flow of Taiwan’s foreign direct investment (FDI), reaching EUR 48.8bn in FDI stock (25.7%) and EUR 3.6bn in FDI flow (38.8%). Taiwan’s investment to the EU also doubled. In 2020, Taiwan approved USD 1.5bn of outbound investment to the EU, a growth of 122.3% compared to the previous year. Taiwan upped one place and became the EU’s 14th trading partner in the world, fifth in Asia, despite a 3.2% drop in bilateral trade, reaching a total amount of EUR 49.3bn. The EU remained Taiwan’s fourth largest trading partner, after China, Japan, South Korea and India.
In spite of the pandemic restrictions, the EU and Taiwan accomplished a good number of important bilateral projects in 2020, including the first ever EU Investment Forum (EIF). The event brought together public and private sectors’ representatives from Europe and Taiwan to promote the EU as an ideal investment destination. Built on its success, the 2021 EIF will take place on 14 October online, promoting investment opportunities in Europe, in particular under the EU’s flagship programmes on the Green Deal and Digital Europe.
The EU and Taiwan continue to work closely on various policy areas, such as human rights, gender equality, social issues, climate change, education and culture. For example, the EU and Taiwan hold annually Human Rights Consultations, taking stock of the progress made and exchanged views on respective human rights situations and policies. The 2020 EU-Taiwan Judicial Exchange provided a valuable opportunity for legal experts from Taiwan and the EU to exchange views on human rights legislation and practices. The EU and Member States also participated in the 2020 Taiwan Pride. The EU and Taiwan jointly held a beach cleanup for the third consecutive year, raising the public’s environment awareness through concrete actions. The 16th Taiwan European Film Festival was also among the few in the world that could take place in cinemas.
Looking forward, Head of Office Filip Grzegorzewski said that the EU and Taiwan will continue to deepen ties and exchanges that are built on solid bilateral relations.
Download: 2021 EU-Taiwan Relations Brochure