SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Book Launch: Towards an EU-Taiwan Investment Agreement: Prospects and Pitfalls

Michael Reilly

Date: 12 January 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 12 January 2018Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Book Launch


With progress towards multilateral trade liberalisation in baulk, the EU has been pursuing bilateral trade liberalisation agreements with countries in East Asia under its Global Agenda. Taiwan has scarcely featured in this strategy despite studies showing that both sides would benefit until in late 2015, against a background of growing populist opposition to international trade agreements, the European Commission announced its willingness to negotiate a comprehensive bilateral investment agreement with Taiwan. While this should be relatively straightforward, this book warns that it is unlikely to be so. The major stumbling block is not opposition from China, whose trading relations with the EU are booming in contrast to those between the EU and Taiwan, however but a lack of sufficient political will on both sides. This stems from a mutual lack of awareness and interest. Although tariffs are low, non-tariff barriers and other market access issues are a disincentive to European companies seeking to do business in Taiwan and bilateral trade has in consequence stagnated. These constraints also act as a brake on Taiwan’s economic progress and it is therefore very much in its interest for its policy makers to address them. A carefully framed bilateral investment agreement with the EU would help them to do so and would also act as a catalyst in developing relations further.

Speaker Bio

CTS - IMG-20180112 - Michael Reilly


Michael Reilly is a Non-resident Senior Fellow in the Taiwan Studies Programme at Nottingham University.A former career diplomat, he spent over 30 years working for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, principally handling UK policy towards East and South East Asia. He has had diplomatic postings in Korea, the Philippines, to the OECD and to Taiwan. His final FCO appointment was as Director of the British Trade and Cultural office in Taipei from 2005-2009, the de facto British ambassador to Taiwan.Upon leaving Taiwan he joined BAE Systems, initially as Director, Far East, responsible for strategic advice on the company’s business development in North East Asia, before going on to serve as the company’s Chief Representative in China, based in Beijing, from 2011 to 2014. He retired from BAE Systems in 2015, since when he has pursued academic research, principally on the EU’s relations with Taiwan, but also on Taiwan’s railway history. In 2016, he was a Visiting Fellow at Academia Sinica in Taipei under the auspices of the Taiwan Fellowship programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan). He has a PhD in Economic History from the University of Liverpool and a diploma in Korean from Yonsei University in Seoul.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

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