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2017 EU-Taiwan Green Public Procurement Seminar

Taipei, 27 April 2017 - The European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) – under the framework of the European Business and Regulatory Cooperation (EBRC) programme – co-hosted the "2017 EU-Taiwan Green Public Procurement Seminar" with the Public Construction Commission (PCC), the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA). The event gathered 150 participants from Europe and Taiwan, which included regulators, representatives of central and local governments and business to discuss the concept and implementation of "Green Public Procurement" (GPP). Experts from the European Commission, EU Member States (France, the Netherlands and the UK) and Taiwan shared policies and strategies on GPP and the best practices for green, sustainable and circular procurement projects.

Mr Kao Fu-Yao (高福堯), Deputy Minister of Public Construction Council, Executive Yuan, Ms Viktoria Lövenberg, Deputy Head of the European Economic and Trade office (EETO), Mr Fan Chih-Ku (范植谷), Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Mr David Hsu (徐大衛), Deputy Director-General of the Bureau of Foreign Trade, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, delivered opening remarks at the seminar.

In her remarks Ms Viktoria Lövenberg pointed out that government procurement is an important topic on the EU-Taiwan dialogue agenda, as both Taiwan and the EU are parties to the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement. She added that Taiwan and the EU are also strong partners when it comes to combating climate change and are joining efforts in the commitment to a low carbon and more sustainable future. She emphasized the fact that in Europe, public authorities are major consumers. The EU's Circular Economy Action Plan, adopted in December 2015, highlights GPP as one of the measures necessary to ensure more effective and efficient use of resources. The benefits associated with GPP are not limited to the impact on the environmental, but can include everything from social and health to economic and political benefits. She noted that the EU is keen to engage in international cooperation with partners like Taiwan in order to increase resource efficiency in global value chains. Taiwan is developing its green public procurement policy for major infrastructure projects. For the many large scale infrastructure projects that would help to translate this plan into reality, GPP is seen as an approach that could improve the investment environment, stimulate investment by state-run enterprises, and boost innovation while respecting the government's commitment to "greening up" Taiwan's industry.

Mr Kao, Fu-Yao (高福堯) stated that the PCC has made it a priority to promote energy conservation and carbon reduction in government procurement cases. He pointed out that Taiwan's government procurement regulations are in line with the provisions of the GPA, and attach great importance to green procurement, which has been specified in the relevant regulations. Mr Kao also stressed that Taiwan and the EU have already co-organised seven seminars on government procurement. Prior to this year's seminar focusing on GPP, previous topics covered included the general introduction of procurement systems, and more specific issues, such as the most economically advantageous tender criteria (MEAT). He said that these events foster mutual understanding between Taiwan and the EU, and strengthen bilateral cooperation in government procurement.

Mr Fan Chih-Ku (范植谷) noted that the "integration of high-speed rail, railways and local MRT green rail transport systems" is one of President Tsai's policy directions for the year 2017. In this regard the MOTC will actively promote rail transport, increase the usage of public transport, and improve seamless access to transport services, which will pave the way to improve the quality of the traffic environment and promote sustainable development.

Mr David Hsu (徐大衛) stated that joining the GPA not only benefits Taiwanese enterprises that seek opportunities in global government procurement markets, but that it also helps to integrate Taiwan's industries in global supply chains. The BOFT expects Taiwan and the EU to create more opportunities for industrial cooperation and trade.

The morning session focused on the best practices of GPP projects in Europe. Four European experts shared their experiences in GPP. Ms Maud de Vautibault, Head of Legal Affairs, Directorate General of the Treasury, Ministry of Economy and Finance, France presented some best GPP practices in France, focusing on energy performance. Mr Mark Hidson, Deputy Regional Director, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, shared approaches to sustainable procurement from a European perspective. Dr Mervyn Jones, Director of Sustainable Global Resources in the UK explained a model for procurement towards a circular economy. Mr Guy Wittich, Representative and Head of Mission of the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office (NTIO), delivered messages on circular procurement, pointing to examples from the Netherlands' experience. The morning session was followed by a fruitful panel discussion in which all four experts from the morning session discussed GPP issues in depth and answered questions from the audience.

In the afternoon session, European and Taiwanese experts talked about green procurement policies and implementation. Mr Robert Kaukewitsch from the European Commission's Directorate General for Environment presented the EU's green public procurement policy via video conference to the audience. Mr Hung Shu-Hsing (洪淑幸), Director-General, Department of Supervision Evaluation and Dispute Resolution, Environmental Protection Agency shared the current status and outlook of promoting green procurement in Taiwan. Mr Wen Tai-Hsin (溫代欣), Chief Secretary, Railway Reconstruction Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications shared the development and future projects of Taiwan Railway incorporating a GPP approach.

The afternoon session was followed by an interactive and lively panel discussion featuring speakers from both the morning and afternoon sessions. The discussion was moderated by Mr Mark Chang, Senior Specialist, Department of Planning, Public Construction Council. The European speakers answered questions previously collected from the EPA and the MOTC as well questions from the audience.