Taiwan signs new trade partnership with U.K.
On Wednesday Taiwan’s representative to the UK, Kelly Hsieh, and his British counterpart based in Taipei, John Dennis, signed an enhanced trade partnership (ETP). The agreement paves the way for future talks on green energy, digital trade and investment, among other trade-based issues. The UK is Taiwan’s third-biggest trading partner in Europe and 21st largest overall.
“The arrangement will take our trade relations to new heights and represents the culmination of our longstanding work to develop new forms of engagement,” said Dennis, the UK’s de facto ambassador.
In a statement, the two parties said the agreement was the first time a framework had been established to foster bilateral trade between Taiwan and Europe, and it hoped it would serve as a model for other countries. Taiwan’s top trade negotiator, John Deng, said Taiwan and Britain’s economies were complimentary and the deal would “enhance the confidence of other countries in the world to interact with us”, according to a statement from his office. The agreement would serve as a model for other European countries to improve their trade ties with Taiwan, the island’s Office of Trade Negotiations said.
Taiwan is seeking to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which the UK is the newest member. Taiwanese minister and its chief trade negotiator, John Deng, said improving economic relations with the UK was “crucial” for Taiwan’s bid. Entry into the CPTPP requires the unanimous support of existing members, and several – particularly Japan – are opposed to China’s inclusion.
“In the face of greater threats from the PRC, it is vital that the democratic world builds closer and deeper ties with Taiwan and trade deals like this are the perfect way to do exactly that, so we applaud for the UK government for taking this step,” said David Spencer, chief executive of the Taiwan Policy Centre which campaigns for closer ties between Taiwan and the UK, and supports Taiwan’s CPTPP bid.
“A closer UK-Taiwan trading partnership can help to secure global semiconductor supply chains, boost net zero around the globe, and enhance safe digital technological developments. Diversifying away from the PRC in these areas and beyond, is vital to the economic wellbeing of everyone.”
“Given its status as the newest member of the CPTPP, improving economic relations with the UK is also crucial for Taiwan’s application to join this landmark trade pact,” Deng said.
Bilateral trade between Taiwan and Britain totalled 8.6 billion pounds ($10.56 billion) in 2022, according to the British government. Last month, Canada and Taiwan completed talks on a bilateral deal to boost foreign investment, and in August U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation on implementing the “21st Century” trade initiative between the United States and Taiwan.
Commenting on the signing of an Enhanced Trade Partnership, David Spencer, CEO of the Taiwan Policy Centre which campaigns for closer ties between Taiwan and the UK said:
“This deal is great news for both sides. The UK and Taiwan have so many shared interests and skills that it makes perfect sense for our two economies to be working together in lockstep in this way. A closer UK-Taiwan trading partnership can help to secure global semiconductor supply chains, boost Net Zero around the globe, and enhance safe digital technological developments. The vital next step is for the UK, as the newest member of the CPTPP, to endorse Taiwan’s application to join us at that table and the Taiwan Policy Centre urges Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch to make that announcement as soon as possible.”