ECCT urges cooperation on energy, talent and investment
The European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT) is ready to assist the government to make further economic and social progress in the areas of energy transformation, talent and education, addressing negative demographic trends and balancing bilateral Europe-Taiwan investment. The statement was made by ECCT Chairman H Henry Chang during his speech at the chamber's annual Europe Day Dinner. At the dinner, speeches were also delivered by ROC President Tsai Ying-wen and Filip Grzegorzewski, Head of the European Union's (EU) European Economic and Trade Office (EETO). The dinner was attended by senior government officials and executives from European and Taiwanese multinational companies.
The annual dinner is held to celebrate Europe Day, the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in 1950, which ultimately led to the formation of today's European Union. The theme of this year's dinner marked the 30th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty, which merged three existing entities: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which was formed in 1951 (under the Treaty of Paris), and two other entities, the Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which were formed in 1957 (under the Treaty of Rome). In addition to merging the three existing entities, the Maastricht Treaty allowed citizens of EU member states the right to live, work and study anywhere in the EU and created the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), which led to the introduction of the euro.
In his speech at the dinner, Chairman Chang noted that the 1990s also witnessed significant progress in Taiwan's transition to democracy. 1992 was the first direct election of the Legislative Yuan and 1996 saw the first democratic presidential election. Building on rapid economic developments in the 1990s, Taiwan joined the World Trade Organisation in 2002, which marked the start of a rapid and sustained increase in international trade and investment over the next 20 years. At the end of 2001, accumulated investments by Europeans in Taiwan were only around US$6 billion. These have since expanded more than ten-fold to over US$62 billion, making Europeans the largest group of foreign investors in Taiwan. And in line with this exponential growth, membership of the ECCT recently reached a record high of over 1,000 individuals from over 420 companies and organisations.
The chairman went on to highlight some of the achievements of Taiwan under the Tsai administration, which included pension reforms, becoming first in Asia in gender equality and marked improvements in the integrity of the investment environment. Thanks to the government's efforts to increase transparency, tackle corruption and thereby improve the integrity of the investment environment, Taiwan has seen steadily improving rankings, including reaching first in Asia in the Bribery Risk Matrix published by anti-bribery and compliance organization TRACE, and 6th (out of 86 countries) in Transparency International's 2020 Government Defence Integrity Index, which was the same ranking as Germany. Last year, Taiwan was ranked the top country in Asia and 11th globally in the Economist's Democracy Index and the 2nd freest country in Asia by Freedom House. In addition, Taiwan has joined advanced nations around the world to embrace the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Moreover, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan's economy has performed strongly, thanks to the acceleration of digitalisation, Taiwan's strength in technology and steady leadership. Last year, Taiwan's GDP rose by over 6% and GDP per capita surpassed US$30,000 for the first time. In terms of purchasing power parity, Taiwan is already higher than many OECD countries and the IMF forecasts that Taiwan will soon rise to among the world's 20 largest economies.
Chairman Chang said that, as part of Taiwan's international business community, the ECCT is willing and ready to help Taiwan to continue to make further economic and social progress by focusing on the three domains or platforms of the ECCT which represent the best of European know-how in Taiwan.
In terms of energy transformation, he highlighted the ECCT's LCI platform, which he said has done an admirable job by placing the focus on Taiwan's energy security and energy independence. "Whether it's wind, solar, geothermal energy as well as energy storage, smart grids and green hydrogen, these are the strong suits of European businesses. With the hardware or infrastructure in place, software must likewise be strengthened. In the ecosystem of energy generation, transmission, distribution and consumption, extra efforts must be made to enhance the intelligence, resilience and stability of the grid infrastructure in Taiwan; and this encompasses interactions among different forms of energy, smart grids, electric mobility charging infrastructure, energy storage and smart buildings. Indeed, an eco-system that is environmentally friendly for all," he said.
A second priority for the ECCT is the Talent and Education domain. The chairman pointed out that Taiwan has a strong technical and manufacturing base and that Europe can help to take Taiwan to the next level by combining innovation with manufacturing expertise.
"Building upon the foundations laid by a high quality of life, universal health coverage, a sound economy and a safe environment, Taiwan has become an increasingly appealing destination and efforts should be made to keep it sustainable". To that end, the chairman reported that the ECCT is launching a platform called the Family Friendly Alliance (FFA, 友善家庭聯盟) which will focus on the issues stemming from an ageing population, low birth rate, shortages of white-collar talent and skilled labourers. While these are issues facing most developed countries for which there are no easy solutions, through the FFA, the ECCT plans to work with corporations, NGOs and the government to find the most practical ways to make Taiwan a friendly place to raise children, improve work-life balance and enable senior citizens to enjoy a healthy and comfortable life. Sharing best practices from Europe will be part of the platform's brief, according to the chairman.
Finally, to ensure healthy and sustainable bilateral economic development between Europe and Taiwan, the chairman introduced the ECCT's proposed European Investment & Business Advisory Platform. "With the support of partners, including the National Development Council, Acer Group Founder Stan Shih, and the European Union, the platform will work alongside existing and new partners in government and industry to increase the level and scope of bilateral investments, preferably through partnerships with European entities, especially in the strategic and future industry sectors of marine cables, new forms of renewable energy, semiconductors, space technology and mobility," he concluded.
Please refer to this link for the Europe Day Dinner video released by the Office of the Presidential: https://english.president.gov.tw/NEWS/6269
這場一年一度的盛宴是為了慶祝歐洲和平和統一紀念日，簡稱歐洲日，是1950 年舒曼計畫的周年紀念。沒有該計畫就沒有今日的歐盟。今年，晚宴的主題是馬斯垂克條約簽署 30 週年，該條約整合了三個現有組織：1951 年根據《巴黎條約》所成立的歐洲煤鋼共同體 (ECSC)、以及根據《羅馬條約》所成立於 1957 年的歐洲經濟共同體 (EEC) 和歐洲原子能聯合會(Euratom)。除了三大組織的整合，《馬斯垂克條約》還允諾歐盟成員國的所有公民能在歐盟任何地方生活、工作和學習，並建立了歐洲聯盟經濟暨貨幣聯盟(EMU)，開啟歐元系統。
張理事長在晚宴提到，90年代的人民見證了臺灣民主轉型的重大進展。1992年中華民國落實國會議員全面改選，1996年選出首任民選總統。有賴1990 年代經濟快速發展的基礎，臺灣於 2002 年加入世界貿易組織，是接下來 20 年國際貿易和投資快速持續增長的濫觴。 儘管於2001年底，歐洲對臺灣累計的投資僅約60億美元，但後來，規模擴大了十倍以上，超過 620 億美元，使歐洲成為臺灣最大的外國投資者來源。這項指標的蓬勃發展讓ECCT 的成員最近創新高，共有一千多人，來自 420 多家公司和組織。
理事長接著強調，在蔡英文政府領導下的臺灣締造諸多佳績，包含年金改革，以及性別平等方面的代表性成就，讓臺灣成為亞洲最性別友善的國家。另外，投資環境完整性也有了顯著改善，這有鑑於政府努力提高透明度，打擊腐敗貪婪，才能改善投資環境的完整性。臺灣的排名穩步提升，包括在國際反腐敗合規機構 TRACE 發布的賄賂風險矩陣中位居亞洲第一，以及在國際透明組織的 2020 年政府國防完整性指數（共 86 個國家）中排名第六，這項指數與德國名次並列。去年，《經濟學人》刊載臺灣的民主指數中排名亞洲第一，全球排名第十一。而自由之家的排名指標，臺灣在亞洲自由度中排名第二。 除了這些，臺灣與世界先進國家一同支持聯合國永續發展目標SDGs，並承諾到了2050年，將實現溫室氣體淨零排放的成績。儘管如今全球面臨新冠肺炎病毒肆虐，但數位化的加速發展讓臺灣經濟表現傲視群雄。臺灣技術實力雄厚，穩居領先地位。去年，臺灣GDP增長超過6%，人均GDP首次突破3萬美元。針對購買力，臺灣已經高於許多經合組織國家，國際貨幣基金組織甚至大膽預測臺灣將躋身世界20大經濟體之列。
「由於擁有高品質的生活環境、全民健康的照顧、穩健的經濟和高治安安全度，臺灣已成為一個越來越有吸引力的理想國家，我們應該努力保持此可持續性」。據報導指出，ECCT 正在推動「家庭聯盟(FFA) 」平臺，專注於解決人口高齡化、白領人才出生率低和技術性勞動力短缺等問題。雖然這些已是大多數發達國家面臨多年的問題，缺乏簡單的解決方案。但是，透過 FFA，ECCT 計劃與企業、非政府組織和政府合作，全力尋找最確實可行的方法。ECCT將讓臺灣成為對養育孩子友善的環境、人民能夠獲得工作與生活平衡的進步社會，並讓老年人能享受健康舒適的生活。理事長表示，分享來自歐洲的實踐典範將成為該平臺簡報的一部分。