President Tsai Ing-wen (???) has called on the European Union (EU) to establish a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan because of the role it can play as a democratic and economic partner.
"Taiwan is ready to be an indispensable partner to Europe, not only on democratic renewal, but also on biotechnology, renewable energy, data protection, ocean governance and semiconductors," Tsai said in a video address to the Forum 2000 Conference on Monday.
Taiwan's world renowned high-tech sector will also play a "critical role in creating a secure global supply chain that protects key technologies," she said.
She encouraged the EU to sign a BIA with Taiwan as such an agreement "would strengthen our mutual interests and solidify our shared values."
Founded in 1996 as a joint initiative of then-Czech President Václav Havel, Japanese philanthropist Yohei Sasakawa, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, Forum 2000 is a foundation and an annual conference of the same name held in Prague, Czech Republic.
Tsai first attended the Forum 2000 Conference last year, when it was also held virtually, at the invitation of the foundation.
Tsai's call for a Taiwan-EU BIA came after the European Union announced last month it will soon launch a "Global Gateway" campaign to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative — the network of investments Beijing is using to link its exporters to Western markets.
Also last month, the EU said in its Joint Communication it planned to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific region, in the areas of health, security, data, infrastructure, the environment, oceans, and trade.
The document, titled "The EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific," specified the EU's intention to seek a trade deal with Taiwan, as part of its strategy to counter China's influence in the region.
"The EU will also pursue its deep trade and investment relationships with partners with whom it does not have trade and investment agreements, such as Taiwan," the joint communication said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel