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UK Aims for Stronger Trade Ties with Taiwan, Emphasizing Mutual Benefits

The United Kingdom is poised to further bolster its trade relations with Taiwan, solidifying the island nation’s position as a vital partner on the global economic stage. This development comes as Richard Faulkner, the British trade envoy to Taiwan, announced plans to deepen and expand the already substantial trade ties between the two nations during a recent visit to Taipei. Faulkner highlighted Taiwan’s crucial role in global supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor and technology sectors. During his visit to the Presidential Office in Taipei on September 21, 2023, Faulkner commended Taiwan’s resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that bilateral trade between the UK and Taiwan continued to flourish. He stated that this resilience underscores Taiwan’s enduring significance as a trading partner for both the UK and the international community.

This commitment to strengthening economic ties was reinforced by the recent announcement of talks between Taiwan and the UK regarding an Enhanced Trade Partnership. This partnership is expected to encompass a broader range of economic sectors and cooperation initiatives. Faulkner further indicated the potential for closer collaboration between the UK and Taiwan on critical global issues. He cited the prospect of joint efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, advance the energy transition, and foster scientific and technological innovation. Notably, the offshore wind sector has emerged as a cornerstone of this collaboration, with over 40 British companies currently operating in Taiwan.

Faulkner also commended the Taipei Representative Office in the UK for its efforts in increasing awareness and understanding of Taiwan on the global stage. He recognized the significant strides that Taiwan has made in parliamentary democracy and human rights under President Tsai Ing-wen’s leadership, resulting in an enhanced reputation for Taiwan in the British Parliament. President Tsai welcomed Faulkner’s visit, expressing gratitude for his dedication to deepening UK-Taiwan ties. She emphasized the shared interests of Taiwan and the UK in renewable energy and expressed optimism about expanding their cooperation in this field. With Taiwan’s substantial offshore wind capacity and the UK’s expertise in the sector, the two nations are well-positioned for fruitful collaboration.

Furthermore, President Tsai congratulated the UK on its recent signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and sought British support for Taiwan’s aspirations to join the bloc. She underscored the significance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, as highlighted in the UK’s Integrated Review Refresh and related reports.

In addition to his meeting with President Tsai, Faulkner engaged in discussions with Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Joseph Wu, where they explored various avenues for bilateral cooperation, including the economy, trade, education, and science and technology. They discussed the continued growth of educational exchanges between the two nations and encouraged Taiwanese students to explore opportunities in the UK through programs like the Turing Scheme and Chevening Scholarships.

Faulkner’s visit to Taiwan included participation in the 18th UK-Taiwan Renewable Energy Conference and the UK-Taiwan Net Zero Academic Research Forum, further underscoring the commitment of both nations to address pressing global challenges and deepen their economic collaboration. These initiatives reflect the UK’s strong interest in fostering a multifaceted partnership with Taiwan that extends far beyond economic ties.