At a meeting on the morning of April 13 with a delegation led by British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group Co-Chair Lord Steel of Aikwood, President Tsai Ing-wen, speaking on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, welcomed the British parliamentarians and expressed hope that bilateral exchanges and cooperation on all fronts will keep growing strong.
President Tsai started her remarks by conveying condolences to the victims of last month's terrorist attack near the Palace of Westminster in London. She stated that interactions between Taiwan and the United Kingdom, which are based on shared values, have been quite frequent in recent years. In just the past year there have been visits to Taiwan by, among others: the Lord Mayor of London, Lord Mountevans; Greg Hands, Minister of State for Trade and Investment; Lord Faulkner, Trade Envoy with responsibility for Taiwan; and UK Special Representative for Climate Change Sir David King. Three British parliamentary groups visited Taiwan last year, and the Legislative Yuan's ROC-UK Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association dispatched a delegation last September to visit the UK, where they were received with warm hospitality.
President Tsai stated that Lord Steel is an old friend of Taiwan's who led a delegation here last year to attend her presidential inauguration, for which she expressed thanks. The president also said she was confident that this had laid the foundation for further development of Taiwan-UK relations in the future.
President Tsai noted that bilateral economic, trade, and investment ties are a key part of Taiwan-UK relations. The UK is one of Taiwan's main trading partners and our fifth-largest source of foreign direct investment, and as such is very important to Taiwan's economic development. The UK is seeking to enhance economic and trade ties with countries throughout the world, while Taiwan is a key link in global supply chains, so the two countries ought to have many opportunities for cooperation in both traditional and innovative industries, said the president.
The president stressed that Taiwan is an island nation, and our government's commitment to free trade is an unchanging policy position, therefore we hope to sign a free trade agreement with the UK, and welcome more British companies to invest in Taiwan. The UK, she added, was the first country in Europe to grant visa-free courtesies to travelers from Taiwan, and has always been a trailblazer in the promotion of relations with Taiwan. There is tremendous room for further development of ties in such fields as culture, education, and tourism, said the president, who expressed hope that the two sides can further strengthen cooperation and enhance bilateral relations.