By Caribbean News Global
TAIPEI, Taiwan – The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the government of the Flanders Region of the Kingdom of Belgium signed a framework memorandum of understanding on cooperation on January 19 via videoconference. The MOU was signed remotely by Taiwan deputy foreign minister Harry Ho-jen Tseng and secretary general of the Flanders chancellery and foreign office Julie Bynens. The signing was witnessed by ambassador Tsai Ming-yen, Taiwan Representative to the European Union and Belgium, and officials from related ministries of both sides.
The MOU, which took effect immediately, consolidated six existing agreements and MOUs between Taiwan and Flanders on investment, renewable energy, education, employment and vocational training, public health, and science. It also established a joint commission to regularly review cooperation in these domains and explore opportunities to enhance cooperation in other areas of mutual benefit, including the digital economy and cybersecurity. The signing of the new MOU highlights the respective and complementary strengths of Taiwan and Flanders and demonstrates the commitment of both sides to continue deepening already strong bilateral relations.
Deputy minister Tseng stated in his signing ceremony remarks that Taiwan and Flanders, building on a foundation of close cooperation, have begun a new chapter in friendly relations by signing the MOU, which covers six areas of mutual interest. He also said that he hoped that regular meetings of the joint commission initiated by the MOU would allow the bilateral partnership to reach fresh heights as cooperation is expanded to include new domains.
He noted that Taiwan and Flanders both face challenges posed by climate change and post-pandemic recovery, while also sharing strengths, such as high-quality human resources, nimble small and medium-sized enterprises, and an innovation culture that has enabled both sides to excel in biotechnology, the circular economy, and green energy. He added that with greater cross-border cooperation relations between Taiwan and Flanders would only continue to gain momentum.
Secretary-General Bynens stated in her remarks that a close connection between Taiwan and Flanders was of great importance. She noted that trade and economic relations between the two sides had been strong for many years and that six agreements and MOUs had been signed since 2014, highlighting the stability of bilateral relations. She added that the MOU covers a range of large industries and that under the auspices of the joint commission bilateral ties would be taken to the next level.
Belgium has a distinctive constitutional system. It includes three regional governments, including Flanders, which are each authorized to conclude contracts with foreign governments and promote bilateral relations. The laws and regulations of each region carry the same force of law as those at the federal level.
Taiwan and Flanders have long enjoyed a close friendship and, in recent years, have signed a number of bilateral MOUs in various domains. Last March, for the first time, the Flemish parliament overwhelmingly voted to adopt a resolution on relations with and international position of Taiwan, which supports Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations and encourages the comprehensive promotion of Taiwan-Flanders relations.
Exchanges between Taiwanese and Flemish enterprises are also close. The renowned Flemish engineering companies Jan De Nul and DEME have cooperated with Taiwanese companies on offshore wind energy projects in Taiwan. In addition, Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre has worked with Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, on high-end chip research and design.
In the post-pandemic era, Taiwan will continue to deepen bilateral cooperation with Flanders to jointly face global challenges such as green energy transition and enhancing the resilience of strategic supply chains.