Deputy John McGuinness has recently returned from Taiwan where he was a guest of the Taiwanese Government and President Ma Ying-jeou. The purpose of the mission was to strengthen relationships with Taiwan in terms of trade, education and tourism.
In a private meeting with the President they both discussed the relationship between Taiwan and Ireland and agreed ways by which this could be improved. “The main reason for our work in Taiwan last week was to promote good relationships between Taiwan and Ireland and central to that is the working holiday visa - The Visa Waver Scheme and the Student Exchange Programme,” Deputy McGuinness said.
“We’re anxious that young people from Taiwan will experience our country and that young people from Ireland will travel to Taiwan and have a positive experience, so that we can grow the relationship in terms of understanding, which will lead to trade and improvements in education. In April of this year 20 students will travel to Ireland from Taiwan to experience our university system and broaden their understanding of Irish culture,” he said.
Deputy McGuinness acknowledged that trade relations are a fraction of what they could be and suggested that Ireland could do more to benefit from the €50 billion trade between the EU and Taiwan. In particular, there is room for greater congruence in the pharmaceutical, technology and agri-food industries, McGuinness said.
“There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of Taiwan in Ireland and we hope to break down those barriers and improve in a positive way that understanding,” concluded Deputy McGuinness.