President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation of UK parliamentarians on the morning of July 30. The president thanked the delegation members for their long-term support for Taiwan's international participation, and expressed hope that their current visit will create even more opportunities for collaboration in the future.
In remarks, President Tsai said that she met with three delegations from the UK Parliament last year, and welcomed the delegation members to the Office of the President as the first visitors from the UK Parliament this year. Baroness D'Souza, the president said, previously visited Taiwan during her tenure as Lord Speaker, and she was delighted to exchange opinions with such distinguished parliamentarians.
Just last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was sworn into office, President Tsai said, and we hope to continue to strengthen our partnership with the United Kingdom across the board, based on our already solid foundation.
Our bilateral exchanges, she said, have achieved impressive results over the past few years. Citing one example, last year we launched the UK-Taiwan Innovative Industries Researcher Placement Scheme, bolstering our collaboration in innovative fields like AI and clean energy. This past March, we also jointly held a conference to promote the use of AI in healthcare.
The United Kingdom is Taiwan's third-largest trading partner in Europe, and Taiwan was the United Kingdom's second fastest-growing export market worldwide last year, with growth of 40%. In order to continue promoting trade development between our countries and create win-win situations, the president said, we hope to initiate discussions regarding the signing of a bilateral free trade agreement or a bilateral investment agreement as soon as possible.
President Tsai then stated that the delegation's visit to Taiwan gives us an opportunity to exchange views on a variety of issues and facilitates mutual understanding. Likewise, over the past few years, many Taiwanese Cabinet-level officials have made visits to the United Kingdom for a wide range of exchanges. In fact, both Baroness D'Souza and Baroness Garden of Frognal were present to welcome Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Science and Technology Minister Chen Liang-Gee (陳良基) when they visited the United Kingdom.
President Tsai then thanked the delegation members for supporting Taiwan, and the United Kingdom for their longstanding support for Taiwan's international participation and for consistently finding new areas for bilateral cooperation. She closed her remarks by expressing hope that the delegation's visit will create even more opportunities for collaboration in the future, and then wished the delegation a smooth and successful stay.
The delegation also included Lord Best.