TAIPEI - The warming cross-strait relationship has helped to strengthen Taiwan-EU trade ties over the last seven years, the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) said yesterday.
Frederic Laplanche, head of the EETO, was speaking to an audience of about 600 EU industry members and Taiwan state officials including President Ma Ying-jeou.
"(The current administration's) policy of dialogue and rapprochement has been, for the past seven years, a great contribution to peace and stability in the region," Laplanche said.
"It has given European actors in Taiwan, both private and public, more faith and confidence to develop relations and do business with the long-term in mind."
The outgoing European representative was delivering his final keynote at an annual business gala hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT).
Bernd Barkey, chairman of the ECCT, also spoke positively on the Ma administration's business policies, praising the administration for resolving 20 per cent of regulatory issues broached by the ECCT each year.
Requests met include excluding offshore investors from investor quota limits for private placement funds, adjusting liquor inspection rules and strengthening protection of intellectual property rights, according to the ECCT.
"Over a number of years, incremental progress has amounted to substantial progress," he said.
In his keynote address, Barkey reiterated the ECCT's 2015 proposal that Taiwan more actively promote renewable energies and the energy efficiency of its industrial and buildings sectors.
Barkey also urged Taiwan to accelerate the development of skills and competitiveness in its service industry, which is "increasingly important to the economy."
The business lobby chairman said he believes Taiwan's core strengths are the "relatively consistent legal system," stable government, reputable academic institutions, good transport and communications infrastructure and functioning universal health care system.
"If right actions are taken, we are optimistic about Taiwan's future," he said, noting that the ECCT sees Taiwan as a smart, low-carbon nation, a regional financial centre and a showcase for renewable energy.
At the gala, President Ma reiterated a call for the EU to forge bilateral investment agreements with Taiwan, stressing that the partnerships would enable both the EU and Taiwan to reap the dividends of cross-strait peace.
In his keynote address, Ma called on the governments of EU nations to urge the European Commission to start negotiations.
"The agreements would have a synergistic effect on the existing Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA)," he said.