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Lunch with EU's DG GROW Deputy DG Rute

The ECCT co-hosted a Premium Event lunch with guest speaker Maive Rute, Deputy Director-General & Chief Standardisation Officer of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The event was co-hosted in conjunction with AHK, CCIFT and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Taipei. DDG Rute was in Taiwan for European Innovation Week, a series of events arranged by the EU in Taiwan. In her speech DDG Rute spoke about promoting EU-Taiwan collaboration in various areas including green energy, the circular economy and advanced manufacturing.


The European Commission is eager to remain a strong partner of Taiwan and to build on already strong ties that bind the EU and Taiwan economies. She described the relationship between the two sides as symbiotic given many overlapping interests. She noted that Taiwanese investments in Europe only account for 2% of its outbound investments despite having much to offer investors.


The Net Zero Industry Act will give incentives to manufacturers in Europe and is aimed at diversifying the number of supply chain partners to reduce dependence on countries like China. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spurred Europe to action in a number of areas, particularly to improve its energy resilience and speed up the energy transition. Targets for renewable energy have been increased in this regard. For example, solar energy targets have been doubled to 300GW by 2025 and almost 600GW by 2030. The EU is also looking into the way it runs auctions for wind energy. A new concept of supply chain resilience has been introduced to the process, whereby, in the future, organisers of public sector auctions will give preference to bidders from alternative countries if the primary bidders already account for 60% or more of the market.


Europe has taken important steps towards hydrogen production since it will play an important role in decarbonising industrial processes. The Hydrogen Alliance has more than 1,500 members from all across the value chain and has identified a pipeline of around 850 projects. The intention of the alliance is to speed up the development of the hydrogen supply chain.


On the circular economy, Rute said that this goes beyond waste treatment and recycling to look at eco-designs and the materials used to create truly sustainable products. The EU is looking to create legislation that will spur the creation of products that will last longer, can be dismantled easier, repaired or recycled. Another benefit of this approach is that these sectors create more jobs on average than other sectors. Given Taiwan’s experience in recycling, there is potential for collaboration with Europe in this regard.


In terms of advanced manufacturing, the machinery sector is important as it is a central pillar of the European economy. European companies have made great advances in upgrading the manufacturing process through digitalisation and automation. Robotics is also a potential area of cooperation between Europe and Taiwan. The Taiwan government’s focus on green energy overlaps with the EU’s, including the drive towards electrification.


DDG Rute concluded that the EU welcomes investments from Taiwan as well as initiatives to develop skills. Europe’s large investments demonstrate its commitment to Taiwan. One of the key points of commonality between the EU and Taiwan is the need and drive to strengthen energy resilience. Other areas of mutual interest and potential cooperation include digital transformation, strengthening resilience in obtaining strategic materials, strategic stock taking and cyber security.