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Time to boost EU’s connectivity and supply chains co-operation with Taiwan

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Since 2018, the EU has pursued a 'Connectivity Strategy' with Asia, seeking to strengthen its connection with the region and promote co-operation in areas including transport, digital economy, energy, and human networks, write Bulgarian EPP MEP Andrey Kovatchev and Ming-Yen Tsai and Ming-Yen Tsai, Taiwan representatives to the EU and Belgium. 

In January of this year, the European Parliament also passed a report on “Connectivity and EU-Asia relations” which highlights the need for connectivity between the EU and Asian countries. 

Notably, the report specifically highlights cooperation with Taiwan. Indeed, Taiwan and the EU already share core values such as democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, and have together developed close exchanges in economic and investment areas. This should make Taiwan a primary and important partner for the EU’s “Connectivity Strategy.”

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has, on several occasions, stressed the urgency for the EU of achieving the twin policy goals of the European Green Deal and the Digital Transformation. Likewise, Taiwan is now promoting the Six Core Strategic Industries, including green energy, digital technology, and precision health technology.

Focusing on the importance of Taiwan-EU Connectivity, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen stated that within these targeted key sectors, Taiwan has nurtured dynamic industrial clusters to allow domestic and foreign firms to collaborate and innovate more effectively. With the new deployment of these industries, Taiwan intends to grasp the opportunities offered by the restructuring of global supply chains in the post-pandemic era.

Taiwan and the EU share overlapping developmental goals, which could pave the way to matching up the industrial strategies of both sides to build together resilient, diversified, and reliable global supply chains. More investment and co-operation prospects could also be explored in areas such as semiconductors, biotechnology and medical care, precision machinery, green energy, and offshore wind power. 

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In terms of innovative electronics, Taiwan, through investment by its electronics industry in Europe, has the chance to acquire local technical talent and knowledge, and pursue long-term development and a policy of localization. In the post-pandemic era, operating systems using local manufacturing will be key to further strengthening the stability and security of supply chains. This is thus a perfect opportunity for Taiwanese companies to increase their investments in Europe.

As for precision machinery, by combining high-end European technology, Taiwan's optimization capabilities, and Asia's huge market, there is great potential to effectively reduce costs and increase efficiency for both sides.

Regarding green energy, Taiwan has valuable experience in offshore wind power farm construction. Over the past few years, Taiwan and the EU have worked closely in the areas of green energy and wind power construction, as Taiwan pursues its goal of a “2025 Nuclear-free Homeland.” Successful collaboration between Taiwan and the EU could, in the future, be expanded to the offshore wind power markets of other Asian countries. Indeed, Japan and South Korea have already expressed their interest in this sort of cooperation model.

Since the beginning of 2019, and through the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU has learned that securing supply chains is a key part of realizing “open strategic autonomy”. Today, it is a common challenge for every government to help repair the economic damage caused by the coronavirus in the post-pandemic era. Taiwan's economic growth rate was

Regarding semiconductors, the EU’s advantage lies in its advanced equipment and materials, while Taiwan’s strength focuses on its manufacturing prowess and comprehensive industrial chain. In this sector, both parties can develop opportunities for collaboration through R&D innovation, cooperative investment, and an increased use of complementary talents. So far this year, Taiwanese investments in the EU’s semiconductor industry have already exceeded 4.35 billion euros—the largest amount ever for a single year.

In the field of biotechnology and medical care, looking forward, Taiwan and the EU can seek to work together in R&D, product development, clinical trials, and medical equipment. In addition, Taiwan has established a comprehensive big data database in its health insurance system, which has the potential to produce tremendous value through joint analysis and research. 

Taiwan's economic growth rate was over 3% last year due to its success in containing COVID-19. Moreover, it is predicted that Taiwan will perform even better economically this year. Taiwan’s quick responses to both the shortage of protective facial masks in 2020 and automotive chips in 2021 are perfect examples of Taiwan’s important and reliable role in the global supply chain. In a way, Taiwan is like an auto chip or a mask, small yet essential.

This is a critical moment for Taiwan and the EU to implement strategic industrial convergence and enhance supply chain cooperation under the framework of the EU-Asia Connectivity Strategy. If both sides work together and seize this unprecedented opportunity, a win-win situation could truly be created.

Taiwan

MOFA welcomes the inclusion of Taiwan in joint communication on the EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) sincerely welcomed on 17 September the inclusion of Taiwan for the first time in the joint communication adopted by the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on 'The EU strategy for co-operation in the Indo-Pacific' on 16 September.

The communication expresses concern for the security situation in the Taiwan Strait and describes Taiwan as an important partner of the EU in the Indo-Pacific region. In response, MOFA stressed that Taiwan is a partner that shares the EU’s core values of democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. The ministry further pledged to continue strengthening cooperation with the EU in areas such as supply chain restructuring in strategic industries including semiconductors, the digital economy, green energy and in the post-pandemic economic recovery.

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Taiwan

President Tsai vows to make Taiwan integral part of space technology supply chains

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Space technology will be placed at the heart of Taiwan’s industrial development plans through enhanced academia-industry-government collaboration, President Tsai Ing-wen vowed, September 14. The government is leaving no stone unturned in pursuing this aim, Tsai stated, citing the passage of the Space Development Act and a plan to invest €769.57 million in the space sector over the next decade. The president made the remarks during a visit to the National Space Organization in Hsinchu City, northern Taiwan.

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Reimagining a more resilient UN system with Taiwan in it

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After more than 200 million infections and over 4 million deaths and counting, the COVID-19 pandemic has raged across the globe. This has created a profoundly devastating socio-economic impact on our interconnected world, with virtually no countries spared. The pandemic has disrupted global trade, exacerbated poverty, impeded education, and compromised gender equality, with middle to low income nations bearing the brunt of the burden, writes Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) (pictured, below).

As many countries brace for another spike of the virus, prompted by the highly contagious Delta variant, the world looks up to the United Nations (UN) to ramp up comprehensive efforts to resolve the crisis, ensure better recovery, and rebuild sustainably. This is a daunting task that requires all hands on deck. It is time for the global body to welcome Taiwan, a valuable and worthy partner that stands ready to lend a helping hand.  

Over the past few months, Taiwan, like many other countries, has been dealing with a surge of COVID-19 cases after almost a year of success in containing the virus. Yet, it got a handle on the situation and emerged even more ready to work with allies and partners to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic. Taiwan’s effective response to the pandemic, its rapid capacity expansion to meet global supply chain demand, and its substantive assistance toward partner countries around the world all speak to the fact that there is no lack of compelling reasons for Taiwan to play a constructive role in the UN system.

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However, under pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the UN and its specialized agencies continue to reject Taiwan, citing the 1971 UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 (XXVI) as a legal basis for this exclusion. But the language of the resolution is crystal clear: it merely addresses the issue of China’s representation in the UN; there is no mention of Chinese claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, nor does it authorize the PRC to represent Taiwan in the UN system. The fact is, the PRC has never governed Taiwan. This is the reality and status quo across the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwanese people can only be represented on the international stage by their popularly elected government. By falsely equating the language of the resolution with Beijing’s “one China Principle,” the PRC is arbitrarily imposing its political views on the UN.

The absurdity doesn’t end there. This exclusion also obstructs the participation of Taiwan’s civil society. Taiwanese passport holders are denied access to UN premises, both for tours and meetings, while Taiwanese journalists cannot obtain accreditation to cover UN events. The only reason for this discriminatory treatment is their nationality. Barring members of Taiwan’s civil society from the UN defeats the ideal of multilateralism, contravenes the UN’s founding principles of promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and hampers the UN’s overall efforts.

For six decades, Taiwan has been providing assistance to partner countries around the world. Since the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda, it has focused on helping partners achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and, more recently, engage in antipandemic response and postpandemic recovery. Meanwhile, at home, Taiwan has fulfilled its SDGs in gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and good health and well-being, among others. Our innovative, community-based solutions are harnessing public-private partnerships for the benefit of society as a whole.

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The World Happiness Report 2021, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranked Taiwan the happiest in East Asia, and 24th in the world. The ranking indicates how the people of a country feel about the social support they receive, and reflects in large part a country’s implementation of the SDGs. Taiwan is willing to pass on its experience and work with global partners to build a better and more resilient future for all.

At a time when the world is sounding the clarion call for climate actions and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, Taiwan is actively charting a roadmap toward the goal, and has drafted dedicated legislation to facilitate this process. Climate change knows no borders, and concerted efforts are a must if we want a sustainable future. Taiwan knows this, and is working on the best ways to turn the challenges of carbon reduction into new opportunities.

In his oath of office in June this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed our shared vulnerability and interconnectedness. He said that the UN, and the states and people it serves, can only benefit from bringing others to the table.

Denying partners that have the ability to contribute is a moral and material loss to the world as we seek to recover better together. Taiwan is a force for good. Now is the time to bring Taiwan to the table and let Taiwan help.

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