Trade minister Greg Hands begins UK efforts to strengthen Taiwanese trade links

Mon 7 Nov 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Global Britain: Trade with Taiwan discussed by Greg Hands

UK trade minister Greg Hands is to hold in-person trade talks with Taiwan to boost ties, promote free trade and increase British exports to the market.

Hands will co-host the UK-Taiwan 25th annual Trade Talks in Taipei and look at tackling trading barriers in sectors like fintech, food and drink, and pharma.

British trade with Taiwan has gone up 14% in the last two years to £8bn, with UK exports to Taiwan also increasing in that time.

According to a government statement, Hands said: “Boosting trade with this vital partner is part of the UK’s post-Brexit tilt towards the Indo-Pacific and closer collaboration will help us future-proof our economy in the decades to come.”

Technology and innovation

During the talks this week, Innovate UK will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Taiwan’s economy ministry, pledging to increase collaboration on technology and innovation.

This includes a £5m funding commitment through to 2025 and support to UK businesses via a bespoke Innovation Programme between the UK and Taiwan.

Green transition

The UK is a major partner in Taiwan’s green transition, with more than 38 British companies already having set up offices in Taiwan.

Hands will promote UK expertise in offshore wind, hydrogen and electric vehicles, and visit the Formosa 2 offshore wind site. This is the first international offshore wind project supported by UK Export Finance, with more than 10 British companies involved.

Computer chips

The Times reports that Britain is seeking to invest in technology such as computer chips which have previously been bought from China.

Taiwan is the world’s leading supplier of semiconductors, which have seen a global shortage in the two years.

China displeasure

Hands will focus on trade but his visit is likely to anger China, which regards Taiwan as its territory and has a negative outlook on shows of support towards the breakaway province.

The Chinese foreign ministry said that it resolutely opposed any form of official exchanges between a country with whom it has diplomatic ties and Taiwan, reports Reuters.

Chip tweaks

China is looking to circumvent American sanctions on accessing its chip technology by slowing down the processing speeds of some of its most advanced processors, reports the FT.

The US Commerce Department recently announced it was broadening curbs on shipments of semiconductors and equipment for manufacturing the materials to China, which makes it harder for US companies to export there.

Chinese companies Alibaba and Biren are said to be tweaking their chip designs so that they operate under the US export cap of 600 GB-per-second.