Relations with the EU
The European Union and Taiwan
For the EU, Taiwan is a reliable and valued like-minded partner in Asia. The EU and Taiwan share common values, such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights. We are both committed to upholding multilateralism and the rules-based international order. The EU and Taiwan share common objectives, such as tackling the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic as well as promoting stability, security and sustainable growth.
While the EU pursues its “One China” policy and recognises the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, the EU and Taiwan have developed solid relations and close cooperation in a wide range of areas.
Regular consultations between the EU and Taiwan deal with issues of mutual interest, such as human rights, trade and economic issues, connectivity, innovation, digital issues, green energy, circular economy, labour issues, and disaster management.
The EU has a strong stake in peace, security and stability in Asia. The EU supports the status quo and peaceful resolution of differences across the Taiwan Strait, rejecting the use or threat of force. It continues to encourage dialogue and constructive engagement.
Economic and Trade Relations
Taiwan, under the name of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, has been a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) since January 2002. Taiwan is party to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Information Technology Agreement. It is also an active participant in plurilateral initiatives in the framework of WTO, where it has a number of shared interests with the EU.
The EU and Taiwan enjoy a close trade and economic partnership. In 2020, Taiwan became the EU's 14th trading partner in the world. Bilateral trade in goods decreased by 3.2% to €49.3bn. The EU is Taiwan's largest foreign investor. Taiwan is an important trading partner and a key player in the global value-added chains. Innovations in the Information Communication Technology, artificial intelligence, smart mobility and green energy sectors offer numerous new business opportunities for European and Taiwanese companies.
The EU-Taiwan framework of cooperation reflects the dynamic trade and economic relationship between two like-minded WTO members. The EU and Taiwan hold annually bilateral trade consultations, a mid-term review, the industrial policy dialogue, the dialogue on digital economy and various sectoral working groups. The broader EU-Taiwan framework includes the presence of 15 Member States offices in Taipei. In addition, the very active European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) represents European businesses in Taiwan.
The EU-financed European Business and Regulatory Cooperation (EBRC) program entered its second phase in October 2019. The EBRC has been designed specifically for Taiwan, with the objective of improving regulatory cooperation between the EU and Taiwan and enhancing visibility and projection in Taiwan of European excellence. Based on its previous four-year success, EBRC continues to fund local events and projects aiming to facilitate regulatory coherence and business collaboration with Taiwan and the region.
Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the values on which the European Union is founded. Embedded in the Treaty on European Union, they have been reinforced by the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
These values also apply to the EU's foreign policy: Europe helps as much as possible to protect universal values across the world, through agreements, dialogues, cooperation projects, and also thanks to funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.
The EU and Taiwan hold annual consultations on human rights to exchange views on their respective human rights situations and policies and discuss issues of mutual concern such as the death penalty, business and human rights, migrant workers’ rights, gender equality and LGBTI rights, etc.
An overview of the EU's Human rights policy and more in-depth information can be found at Human rights and Democracy and Fundamental Rights.
The EU's Human Rights policy across the world is summarized here.
The EU also, in particular, promotes the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. On this specific issue, you can refer to this webpage.
Human Rights Focal Point/ Liaison Officer on Human Rights Defenders
Mr. G. Martinez
Research and Innovation
The EU and Taiwan have a successful track record of cooperation in R&I based on the fact that both share many research priorities and face similar societal challenges – ageing societies, sustainable food security, climate change, energy - and both see cooperation as necessary to promote the excellence in science and to increase the competitiveness of their industries and the access to international markets. In addition, Taiwan holds a significant position in the global Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field - a cross-cutting and enabling technology. The government of Taiwan has heavily invested in projects in R&I building a large technological capability. Taiwan is a world leader in the semiconductor industry, which has major strategic importance. There is hardly an industry nowadays that can succeed without the use of microchips.
Taiwan research institutions have been active participants in the EU's research framework programmes with a good history of collaboration in FP5, FP6 and FP7. Taiwan is regarded by the Commission as a high-income partner. Since 2003 the Taiwanese government co-funds Taiwanese researchers participating in EU framework programmes. The areas of robotics, micro and nano-electronics, and ICT in general, digital security, personalized healthcare and medicine, smart cities and communities, competitive low-carbon energy, energy efficiency, blue growth with special emphasis on unlocking the potential of seas and oceans, offer good potential for future cooperation.
Environment & Climate Change
The EU has some of the highest environmental standards in the world, developed over decades to address a wide range of issues. Today the main priorities are combating climate change, preserving biodiversity, reducing health problems from pollution and using natural resources more responsibly. While aimed at protecting the environment, these goals can contribute to economic growth by fostering innovation and enterprise. We also hope that the experiences gained over the decade can be shared with friends in Taiwan.
The EU Office regularly liaises with the Environmental Protection Administration Taiwan, NGOs, think tanks and academic institutions in the field of climate change, in order to clearly convey the EU's position on climate change and to promote domestic action in these areas through organising events, seminars and visits. The EU has been at the forefront of international efforts towards a global climate deal. The EU has played a key role in brokering the historic agreement in Paris on 14 December 2015, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. The ambitious and balanced agreement, the first major multilateral deal of the 21st century, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
Culture & Education
Europe Festival is the largest outreach annual event to celebrate Europe Day (9th May) with the Taiwanese public. The objective of the fair is to promote the EU and its Member States to the Taiwanese public with booths showcasing European culture, cuisine, foods and drinks, as well as interactive games, and on-site live performances. The event is an excellent example of EU-Taiwan collaboration, as it is a joint effort by the Member States’ offices in Taiwan, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and the Taipei City Government. Find out more on the Europe Festival Facebook Page.
European Film Festival Taiwan (TEFF)
The European Film Festival Taiwan has been organised by the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) annually since 2005. It started from a classic film festival profile: 35 mm film format, public advertising, and tickets sales, and evolved into today's format of using free of charge DVD screenings at universities, local governments and cultural centres. The TEFF not only showcases the rich, diverse cultures of the European countries but also offers Taiwanese moviegoers an excellent opportunity to enjoy free European movies from different countries. For more information, please visit the website or the TEFF Facebook Page.
European Education Fair in Taiwan (EEFT)
The European Education Fair in Taiwan is an initiative devoted to promoting high-quality education opportunities in Europe. It has been organised since 2002, giving European countries a chance to introduce their higher education institutions and to provide Taiwanese students with information regarding visa regulations, travelling and scholarships. For more information, please visit the website or the EEFT Facebook Page.