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  • President Tsai meets delegation from Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group in Belgian Parliament
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President Tsai meets with a delegation from Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group in Belgian Parliament, which is led by Co-Chair Raf Terwingen of the Friendship Group.
President Tsai Ing-wen met on the morning of September 8 with a delegation from the Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group in the Belgian Parliament. In addition to thanking the Friendship Group for its longstanding support and friendship for Taiwan, the president also expressed hope that her visitors will continue working to enhance bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

In remarks, President Tsai noted that in 2012 and again in November 2015 the Belgian House of Representatives passed resolutions commending Taiwan's efforts to maintain regional peace and supporting the signing of a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the European Union. On behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, she thanked the Friendship Group for pushing the resolutions and helping to secure their passage.

The president pointed out that bilateral economic, trade, and industrial cooperation between Taiwan and Belgium have made notable progress in recent years. She then called upon her guests to encourage companies in their electoral districts to invest more in Taiwan and expand the scope of cooperation, so as to further enhance bilateral exchanges.

The president noted that in October 2015 the European Commission released a new trade and investment strategy for the EU: Trade For All. Under this new strategy, the EU intends to explore launching negotiations on investment with Taiwan during the 2015-2019 period. The president stated her view that the signing of an Taiwan-EU investment agreement will prove beneficial to economic and trade relations between Taiwan and Belgium, for which reason she asked her guests to continue urging the Belgian government to encourage the EU to enter as soon as possible into negotiations with Taiwan on a bilateral investment agreement in order to boost the economy of Taiwan and Belgium.

Commenting on Taiwan's international participation, the president emphasized that Taiwan is an important member of the international community and that we are willing and able to make more contributions with respect to global issues such as humanitarian aid, disease control, and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Taiwan hopes to participate more, and to play a more important role.

Noting that the world now faces a global terrorist threat, the president reiterated previous expressions of concern and sympathy regarding the terrorist attack that took place this past March in Brussels, and indicated that Taiwan is willing to cooperate with Belgium in the prevention and fight against terrorism.

President Tsai stated that today's international society is characterized by increasing interdependence, so all nations must pool their resources to face global challenges. "Taiwan should not be overlooked," said the president, who expressed hope that Belgium will support Taiwan's participation in international bodies, thereby multiplying our combined strengths.

The delegation was led by Raf Terwingen, Co-Chair of the Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group in the Belgian Parliament.
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