April 10, 2017
An eight-member delegation led by Lord Steel of Aikwood, a parliamentarian from the UK’s House of Lords and co-chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, is visiting Taiwan at the invitation of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) from April 9 to 15, 2017.
The purpose of the visit is to gain a better understanding of current political and economic developments in Taiwan, cross-strait relations and the regional situation across Asia and the Pacific, the government’s economic development strategies, smart city- and renewable energy-related industries, and medical care and elderly care policy, as well as local government operations.
During their stay in Taiwan, the members of the delegation will have an audience with President Tsai Ing-wen and call at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Mainland Affairs Council, Taipei City government, Kaohsiung City government and the British Office Taipei. In addition to attending receptions hosted by the Legislative Yuan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation will also visit sites of economic and cultural significance such as the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, Kaohsiung Harbor and Kenting National Park.
In recent years, Taiwan and the United Kingdom have maintained close ties in such areas as economics and trade, mutual judicial assistance, tourism and travel, and youth exchange. In 2016, the UK was Taiwan’s third-largest trading partner in Europe, with bilateral trade reaching about US$5.49 billion.
In terms of mutual judicial assistance, Taiwan and the UK signed a prisoner transfer arrangement in May 2016. Regarding tourism and travel, January 2016 saw the UK announce Taiwan’s inclusion in its Registered Traveller service, while a youth exchange program launched in 2011 has proven very popular among young people from both countries. This year, the UK government also started granting Deemed Sponsorship Status to Taiwanese applicants for its Youth Mobility Scheme. Taiwan and the United Kingdom will continue to enhance relations in the years ahead.
In addition to Lord Steel, the delegation’s other parliamentarians include Baroness Barker and Lord Purvis of Tweed of the House of Lords, and Sir Simon Burns, Andrew Bingham, Chris Davies and Wayne David of the House of Commons, accompanied by Mrs. David.(E)