While meeting on the morning of September 8 with a delegation led by Mr. Guido Galperti, Vice President of the Italy-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Italy for supporting Taiwan's participation in international organizations, and said she hopes that exchanges on various fronts will continue to enhance Taiwan-Italy relations.
In remarks, President Tsai noted that the 2017 Summer Universiade held in Taipei the previous week had just come to an end, and the next Summer Universiade would be held in Naples, Italy. In the Universiade closing ceremony, an outstanding performance by Italy made a deep impression on the people of Taiwan. We are all very much looking forward to the 2019 Universiade in Naples, said the president, who added that she hopes for more exchanges with Italy.
Noting that the 7th Meeting of the Taiwan-Italy Economic, Industrial and Financial Cooperation Forum will be held on September 11, the president enthusiastically welcomed Mr. Galperti and his delegation to Taiwan. Mr. Galperti, she said, is a good friend of Taiwan's who has long lent strong support to Taiwan in the Italian parliament. Last year, moreover, he came to Taiwan to attend the presidential inauguration ceremonies, an indication of close bilateral ties.
Commenting on Taiwan-Italy relations, President Tsai pointed out that bilateral exchanges are growing increasingly close thanks to the efforts of both the public and private sectors. In the economic sphere, Italy is Taiwan's fifth-largest trading partner in the European Union (EU), and Taiwan hopes that Italy will continue to support the signing of a bilateral investment agreement between Taiwan and the EU, which would create a better cooperative mechanism for economic, trade, and investment activities.
The president also expressed hope that exchanges on various fronts will continue to enhance Taiwan-Italy relations, and noted that Taiwan has signed youth working holiday agreements with Germany, France, and eight other European countries. Hopefully, she said, Italy can also sign such an agreement as soon as possible so that young people can engage in exchanges, which would help to enhance bilateral relations.
Commenting on Taiwan's continuous promotion for passage by the Italian parliament of a law guaranteeing that foreign art pieces on loan will not be impounded, President Tsai expressed hope that Mr. Galperti and the other visiting parliamentarians will continue to support the passage of the law in order to further promote bilateral cultural exchanges.
Commenting on the passage by the Italian Senate this past June of a resolution supporting Taiwan's participation in specialized international bodies such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Civil Aviation Organization, President Tsai noted that this was the first time the Italian Senate had ever passed an important resolution in support of Taiwan. She specially thanked Mr. Galperti and all the other Taiwan-friendly parliamentarians for their strong support for Taiwan's international participation.
And finally, in addition to once again welcoming the visitors to Taiwan, the president said she looked forward to a very successful Taiwan-Italy Economic, Industrial and Financial Forum, and expressed hope that the two countries can discover more areas for cooperation and development, thereby working together to enhance bilateral relations.
Also in the delegation were Italian Chamber of Deputies members Giuseppe Romele, Mario Borghese, and Emanuele Prataviera.