Taiwan's visa-free access to EU is proving beneficial

Since Taiwan's was granted visa-free access to the European Union in January 2011, the links between Taiwan and Europe have grown and could lead to an increase in Taiwanese investment in the region, according to President Ma Ying-jeou.

Since the country's admission to the EU's visa-waiver program, the number of Taiwanese visitors to the EU has risen nearly 60 percent, Ma said. He added that bilateral ties have deepened as Taiwanese nationals are now allowed to freely travel in Europe, not just for trade and investment but also for cultural and educational purposes.

Under the visa waiver program, Taiwanese travelers can enter 35 European countries without a visa for up to 90 days within a six-month period.

"Because of the visa-free treatment, more Taiwanese are willing to go to Europe, and thus are gaining a better understanding of the region," said Terry Lee, deputy director-general of the Economics Ministry's Department of Investment Services.

Lee noted that some of the reasons for why few Taiwan companies have invested in the world's biggest economy include culture, language and lifestyle differences, as well as physical distance. However, he said that as Taiwanese learn more about Europe, they will be more willing to do business and invest there.

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