President Tsai Ing-wen met with Mr. Graham Stuart, the UK's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade on the morning of April 9. At the meeting, she expressed hope for more frequent and comprehensive exchanges to increase opportunities for cooperation and strengthen the bilateral partnership.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that Taiwan and the UK have a deep and abiding friendship, and bilateral dialogues and communication are becoming more frequent. Since Taiwan's China Airlines resumed direct flights to London last year, the president said, interaction and communication have become even more convenient. Almost 100,000 visitors now travel between Taiwan and the UK each year, and the UK is the second most popular destination for Taiwanese studying abroad. She added that we also have cooperative scholarship programs with outstanding UK universities like Cambridge and Oxford that give elite students from both countries more opportunities to interact.
Turning to Taiwan-UK economic and trade relations, President Tsai pointed out that she frequently receives UK visitors at the Presidential Office, and they are often most interested in exploring investment possibilities in the railway industry, renewable energy, and Taiwan's "5+2 industrial innovation program."
The president further noted that Taiwan-UK economic and trade activities have been on the upswing over the past year. In all of Europe, the UK is Taiwan's number one investment destination, and third-largest investment partner. At the annual Taiwan-UK Trade Talks in London last December, the two countries also announced the establishment of new and regular dialogues in agriculture, renewable energy, and financial services. Those dialogues will certainly strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties.
President Tsai stated that Taiwan and the UK have a long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership. The UK is actively preparing to form new trade relationships with important trading partners in the post-Brexit era, she said, which will give both countries a chance to upgrade the overall bilateral relationship, and more potential business opportunities. The president specially pointed to green technologies and smart cities as examples. In those fields, the two countries have built a strong cooperative foundation through extensive discussions, including the Taiwan-UK Renewable Energy Roundtable Meeting that began back in 2006, and the recently completed 2018 UK-Taiwan Smart City Forum. She then expressed hope for more frequent and comprehensive exchanges to increase opportunities for cooperation and strengthen the bilateral partnership.