The strengthening of bilateral economic relations » On the growth market Taiwan

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The strengthening of bilateral economic relations
An article by Hans-Joachim Otto, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Economics and Technology

economic relations between Germany and Taiwan are close and trusting. We can look back on a long tradition of cooperation and have, in the meantime, reached a high level of trade, although not all potential has yet been realised.

Let us review the situation: more than three decades ago, the German economy visibly engaged itself in Taiwan by founding the German Trade Office Taipei. It was one of the first subsidiaries in the network of German-Bilateral Chambers of Commerce in Asia. I myself had the honour and pleasure of being present at the gala reception in September 2011 marking the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Trade Office in Taiwan.

It was my fourth visit to Taiwan. On each visit, I was fascinated by the willpower and positive performance level of the Taiwanese.

The Trade Office is an institutional pillar of our economic relations. It works intensively to strengthen the cooperation between German and Taiwanese businesses. The German-Taiwanese Economic Partnership Initiative, which serves as a platform for German and Taiwanese companies for deliberation on opportunities for cooperation, is a second pillar.

For the German economy, Taiwan is the fifth largest trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the most attractive markets in Asia. In 2011, the bilateral trade volume achieved a record value of 13 billion euros as well as an equal balance of trade. Taiwan’s economic development in the Asia-Pacific region is impressive. Today, Taiwanese companies are among the market leaders in the areas of information and communication technology as well as for new technologies such as LED and photovoltaics.

250 large German companies have settled in Taiwan, which makes Germany one of the largest European investors in the country. German companies profit from an interesting domestic market and favourable framework conditions.

In as far as investment is concerned, the relations are not a one-way street. 210 Taiwanese companies have established subsidiaries in Germany, especially from the sectors of ICT, logistics, shipping and aviation.

The prospects for the future are bright: reason being that Taiwan consistently embraces innovations in the areas of information and communication technology as well as new technologies such as environmental technologies, biotechnology and nanotechnology. These are areas where I see many points of contact with the German economy. I would like to emphasise two points in particular, which speak for a further development of economic relations:

  • with the conclusion of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with the People’s Republic of China in 2010, Taiwan has positioned itself as an
    interesting Gateway to China, also for German companies. This preferential access to the Chinese market from the Taiwanese base could be an interesting
    alternative to direct investment in China for German and European companies.
  • after almost 10 years of negotiations, the double-taxation treaty between the German Institute in Taipei and the Taipei Representative Office in the
    Federal Republic of Germany was finally signed in December 2011. The treaty facilitates free trade in goods and services as well as the use
    of capital and labour. This liberalisation will contribute noticeably to further simplifying the bilateral trade between our two countries.

I hope that many more people will discover Taiwan for themselves – as a friendly and open country and an excellent trade partner

photos Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie | text Hans-Joachim Otto

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