Brussels, The European Union will not rule out the possibility of signing a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) with Taiwan, even though it upholds the "one China" policy, an EU official in charge of trade affairs in Asia said Tuesday.
The EU included Taiwan on its list of trade partners for BIAs in 2015, but since then, it has not held negotiations with Taipei on the issue, except to state in a trade policy report released in September 2017 that it was preparing to hold investment talks with Taiwan.
At a public hearing on EU-Taiwan trade relations held by the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA), Peter Berz of the European Commission responsible for trade links with the Far East, was asked by an attending parliamentarian if the reluctance to sign the BIA with Taiwan was the result of pressure from China.
Berz replied that although the EU adheres to the "one China" policy, it will not rule out the possibility of forging such an accord with Taiwan, adding that any such talks will require European Commission approval.
Despite that, the two sides have since then set up a joint panel to address the issue. So far, the panel has convened five meetings, a move that has helped the EU and Taiwan acquire more knowledge of the other side's investment policy, Berz said.
The public hearing was also attended by Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade Director-General Yang Jen-ni and Freddie HAlglund, chief executive officer of the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan.
According to data from Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, the EU is Taiwan's fifth-largest trade partner and its largest source of foreign capital, while Taiwan is the EU's sixth-largest trade partner in Asia.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel