In a significant development, Taiwan and Britain have inked an Enhanced Trade Partnership, signaling their intent to deepen economic cooperation. The move is poised to fortify Taiwan's position in global trade and enhance its diplomatic relationships with European nations.
Taiwan places great importance on its alliance with Britain, despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations. The island nation is particularly concerned about heightened Chinese military activities in the vicinity, given Beijing's territorial claims over Taiwan. Moreover, Britain has been a staunch supporter of Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations, including the World Health Organization.
While Taiwan faces diplomatic isolation and mounting pressure from China, it has few formal foreign trade agreements. Nevertheless, it holds membership in the World Trade Organization and maintains free trade agreements with countries like Singapore and New Zealand. John Deng, Taiwan's top trade negotiator, expressed optimism about the deal, highlighting the complementarity of the Taiwanese and British economies. He stated that the agreement would boost confidence among other nations worldwide to engage with Taiwan.
The Taiwan Office of Trade Negotiations views this pact as a blueprint for other European nations seeking to enhance their trade relations with Taiwan. The island nation has consistently urged the European Union, from which Britain departed in 2020, to enter into an investment agreement.
Taiwan is actively pursuing membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade pact comprising 11 countries, including Britain. Deng emphasized the pivotal role of improved economic relations with the UK in Taiwan's bid to join this significant trade alliance.
According to the British government, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Britain reached £8.6 billion ($10.56 billion) in 2022.
Notably, last month, Taiwan concluded talks with Canada on a bilateral deal aimed at bolstering foreign investment, demonstrating Taiwan's commitment to expanding its global economic footprint. Furthermore, in August, U.S. President Joe Biden signed legislation paving the way for the "21st Century" trade initiative between the United States and Taiwan.
The Taiwan-Britain Enhanced Trade Partnership underscores Taiwan's determination to strengthen its economic and diplomatic ties on the international stage, positioning itself as a significant player in global trade and cooperation.