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2015 Open Door Mission

From 14-16 December 2015 an ECCT delegation headed by ECCT Chairman Bernd Barkey and CEO Freddie Hoglund travelled to Brussels, Belgium for its annual Open Door Mission to the European Commission (EC) and other institutions. The objective of the annual trip is to exchange information and promote the expansion of EU-Taiwan trade and business development in Taiwan and the EU. During the mission, the ECCT delegation met with a number of senior officials from the EC and several other important organisations including BusinessEurope (the pan-European federation of European industries), the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Silicon Europe, Digital Europe and the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE).

Over the course of three days, a number of meetings were arranged with senior European officials from the cabinet of the European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, the Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade), the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG Grow), the Directorate-General for the Environment (DG Env), the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect), the Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Clima) and the European External Action Service (EEAS).

At the meetings the ECCT delegation briefed Brussels-based delegations on the major issues listed in the ECCT's 2016 Position Papers and requested assistance from and cooperation with the EC to try to resolve issues facing European businesses in Taiwan during their discussions with the Taiwanese authorities, in particular, the adoption of international standards and the removal of non-tariff barriers facing European firms doing business in Taiwan. The meetings also afforded the opportunity to exchange views on Taiwan's recent economic and political developments and how to enhance cooperation and business ties between the EU and Taiwan.Several meetings with EC officials also served as information sharing exchanges. For example, ECCT delegates learnt about current and impending regulations affecting automakers from DG Grow and DG Env.

Another important component of the mission was to hold review and planning meetings for the EU programmes the ECCT is involved in. Since 2012, the ECCT has been actively promoting Galileo satellite technology through the project under the European Business Organisations (EBO) framework. Since 2014, the ECCT has been running the EU-Taiwan Business and Regulatory Cooperation (EBRC) Programme and, starting in 2016, the ECCT will be part of a consortium with other partners in the Asia Pacific region in the JAKOTA ICT 38 project, a new two-year EU-funded project under the Horizon 2020 programme aimed at increasing ICT R&D cooperation.

A number of meetings were held to plan activities under the programmes. Besides specific activities under each of the programmes, at several of these meetings delegates discussed the idea of organising a European ICT Week, a series of events on European ICT innovation to be held at around the time of Computex Taipei (the end of May 2016).

The ECCT delegation was warmly welcomed by EC officials and other institutions at all meetings. After 18 consecutive Open Door Mission visits to Brussels as well as frequent interaction whenever European delegations visit Taiwan, the ECCT's reputation is well established in Brussels and is often praised for its efficient organization and informative position papers.

Looking ahead, the ECCT and EC will continue to strengthen cooperation. Commission officials will continue to consult with ECCT member companies ahead of and after their bi-annual consultations with their Taiwanese counterparts.

In addition, as part of the implementation of EU projects, the ECCT will engage in frequent cooperation with various EC DGs to arrange seminars and other activities aimed at improving the regulatory environment in Taiwan and boosting bilateral EU-Taiwan trade and investment.

On the second evening of the trip, as has become an annual tradition, delegates attended a dinner hosted by Taiwan's representative office in the EU and Belgium. The dinner provided a good opportunity for the delegation to give a briefing on its meetings and to get an update from the representative office on the current status of EU-Taiwan trade and investment relations. At the dinner delegates also exchanged ideas on future challenges and opportunities facing Taiwan.

Given the high level of delegations, excellent information exchanges, comprehensive planning meetings and the consequent exciting schedule of activities in the pipeline for the year ahead, ECCT delegates described this year's Open Door Mission as extremely productive and successful.