Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???) expressed hope Monday that the Italian government will support Taiwan's bid for deeper trade and economic relations with the European Union, and asked visiting Italian congressmen to help solicit such support.
Chen met with the Italian congressional delegation headed by Giuseppe Romanini, a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, at the Presidential Office earlier in the day, during which he spelled out his wish.
He said that Taiwan, which wants to improve its industrial competitiveness, has been sparing no efforts in seeking over the past several years to sign free trade pacts with its major trade partners.
These partners include the EU, Taiwan's fifth-largest trade partner in the world, Chen said, noting that bilateral Taiwan-EU trade reached US$46.4 billion in 2015.
While Taiwan-friendly Italian parliamentarians have been very supportive of Taiwan's bid to sign agreements with the EU on investment protection and economic cooperation, Chen asked them and the Italian government to continue their support.
He expressed hope that Taiwan's economic and trade relations with Italy and with the EU can be deepened further.
Italy is Taiwan's fifth-largest trade partner in Europe, following Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France, according to Chen.
In 2015, Taiwan-Italy mutual trade amounted to US$3.7 billion, while Taiwan's investment in Italy reached about US$700 million in that year. "The economic and trade interaction between the two sides have been becoming increasingly close," the vice president said.
Members of the Italian delegation include Romanini's two colleagues at the Chamber of Deputies, Francesco Prina and Fabio Lavagno, and Donato Scioscioli, head of the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office in Taiwan.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel