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President wants progress in Europe economic ties

TAIPEI--President Ma Ying-jeou expressed hope Friday that Taiwan and the European Union can soon achieve a breakthrough in economic cooperation.

So far, accumulated investment by EU member states in Taiwan has exceeded US$31 billion, making the EU the largest foreign investor in Taiwan, Ma said while meeting a group of senators from the Czech Republic, an EU member.

He proposed that the two sides sign a bilateral investment agreement to provide better protection for investors and promote investment relations.

On economic relations between Taiwan and the Czech Republic, Ma said that although bilateral trade totals only US$1.3 billion per year, many important Taiwanese companies have investment in the Central European country.

The two countries should explore the possibility of signing an economic cooperation agreement to boost trade and investment, he said.

Ma also said he hopes the working holiday agreement currently being negotiated between Taiwan and the Czech Republic can be concluded as soon as possible to deepen and broaden exchanges between young people of both countries.

Since the EU grants visa-waiver privileges to Taiwanese nationals, the number of Taiwanese visitors to the Czech Republic has increased by 30 percent, he noted.

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