The European Chamber of Commerce Taipei (ECCT) yesterday reiterated its call for a trade enhancement measures (TEM) agreement between Taiwan and the EU, saying the deal would increase jobs and wealth for both sides.
The trade group, which represents 700 members from 400 companies and organizations in Taiwan, has commissioned an international economic consultancy, Copenhagen Economics, to conduct a follow-up to its 2008 study on the benefits of such a deal, ECCT chairman Chris James told a media briefing.
The new study, to be conducted in the first half of the year, will take into account important developments, including the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China and South Korea’s free-trade agreements with the EU and the US, James said.
The previous report lent support for a TEM agreement, which it said would boost Taiwan’s exports to Europe by ￡9.84 billion (US$15.5 billion) a year, benefiting Taiwanese manufacturers of electronics and machinery products in particular, James said.
It would also contribute an additional ￡3.8 billion to Taiwan’s annual GDP, he said.
The proposed trade pact would raise the EU’s GDP by ￡2 billion, while accelerating European exports to Taiwan by ￡11.8 billion, James said.
Since the release of the findings, the ECCT has been pushing for a TEM, calling on the governments of the EU and Taiwan to conduct similar studies and talks over a potential pact.
Taiwan has voiced support for the deal, but indicated it would be a long-shot effort because of the economic and political implications involved.
The ECCT also urged Taiwan to axe double-testing requirements and Taiwan-only standards, which have hindered imports of European electronics products, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and other goods, ECCT chief executive Freddie Hoeglund said.
“We have seen some progress in this area, but believe more can be done,” Hoeglund said. “After all, it is Taiwanese consumers that have to pick up additional testing costs.”
The ECCT also launched its low-carbon initiative to support Taiwan’s aim to cut carbon emissions.
“The initiative is intended to showcase and promote Europe’s low carbon solutions and practices that may help Taiwan meet its goals of reducing carbon emissions,” James said.
A total of 14 European firms from the ECCT have signed up as founding members and have begun planning activities, including launching a Web site and holding seminars, workshops and a major exhibition and conference in June this year, he said.
Taiwan needs to put in greater efforts to improve energy efficiency, especially in buildings, which account for 40 percent of overall energy use, the chamber said.
The nation does not have a performance-based energy code for buildings, which is especially important for public sector buildings, the chamber said.
As a global technology leader, Taiwan should also apply technological expertise to the management of its power grid to save energy, it said.