The 21st UK-Taiwan Trade Talks was held in Taipei on September 25th. Taiwanese Vice Minister for Economic Affairs, Ms. Mei-Hua Wang, co-chaired the occasion with UK Minister of Trade Policy, Mr. George Hollingbery and exchanged views on trade issues of mutual concern.
The UK is our third largest trading partner in Europe, while Taiwan is the UK's 8th largest trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region. According to our statistics, total bilateral trade between Taiwan and the UK were in excess of US$5.7 billion in 2017. From January to August 2018, the value reached US$3.93 billion, representing an increase of 6% from the same period last year. In terms of bilateral investment, the UK is our main investment market in the EU. As of May 2018, cumulative investments in the UK from our enterprises reached US$3.09 billion. Meanwhile, the UK is our second largest source of foreign investment in Europe with cumulative investments amounting to US$9.19 billion.
The meeting this year covered a number of economic and trade issues, including the progress of agricultural and energy dialogues, the UK's future trade policy, bilateral investments, fintech and green finance, as well as technology and industrial cooperation. The two sides also discussed issues in market access, including the agro-food industry, pharmaceuticals, the financial industry and WTO issues.
Minister Hollingbery said that he was happy to co-chair the 21st UK-Taiwan Trade Talks with Wang, emphasizing that total bilateral trade in goods and services between Taiwan and Britain has now reached US$7.2 billion (around 5.5 billion British pounds), with momentum for the investment relationship further strengthened through this dialogue. Minister Hollingbery also stressed the desire to expand business relations with Taiwan and the diversified Asia-Pacific region as the UK prepares to leave the European Union. He also thanked the Ministry and the overall administrative system for their efforts and support for this dialogue meeting.
In response to Britain’s hopes to successfully obtain qualifications as a signatory party to the WTO's government procurement agreement and other arrangements after leaving the EU, we expressed our willingness to cooperate with the UK on relevant issues under the WTO framework.
Vice Minister Wang said that the UK is a world-renowned commercial and financial center and that both parties will be integrating fintech and green finance developments into the financial services sector in the future. It is expected that our cooperative relationship will continue to grow. Wang was also pleased to hear that the Taiwan Financial Services Roundtable (TFSR) and the British Office Taipei signed an MOU in fintech innovation cooperation at the early time, which will help financial technology companies of both sides enter each other's market. Taiwan also invited British Fintech companies to set up operations in our FintechSpace and participate in "FinTech Taipei 2018" (Taiwan Financial Technology Exhibition) in December this year to deepen exchanges between the Taiwanese and British financial services industries and generate more business opportunities.
Both sides confirmed that this mechanism of economic and trade dialogue is an effective communication channel and greatly enhances Taiwan's substantive economic and trade relations with the UK. During the meeting, it was decided that “The 22nd UK-Taiwan Trade Talks" next year will be held in London.