Hugues Mignot, 1941-2022
Hugues Mignot has passed away peacefully at the age of 80. He was a long-time representative of the Belgian Office in Taipei (from 1986-2006), the first director of the Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office in Taiwan (from 2009-2016) and a founding member of what is now the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan. He will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to developing diplomatic relations between Europe and Taiwan and his gregarious nature at any business or social occasion, always the life of the party, quick with a joke and an exceptionally gifted public speaker.
A funeral mass will be held at 9am on Saturday, 7 May at the Chinese Martyrs Sanctuary (25 Nanya West Road, Section 2, Banqiao, New Taipei City). The ceremony is open to all who wish to attend.
According to interviews conducted ahead of the ECCT’s 25th anniversary in 2013, Mignot was actually the catalyst for the establishment of the ECCT. According to his telling, the wife of the German manager of a German company operating in Taiwan approached Mignot (when he was head of the Belgian Trade Office in Taipei) in 1986 for a job. He suggested that she start a European Chamber of Commerce. She picked up the idea and called a preparatory meeting in the Bankers’ Club on Minsheng East Road (a prestigious institution in Taipei at the time). The first meeting to discuss founding a chamber was held on 30 September 1986. It was attended by 49 businesspeople. It took another 15 months or so before the formal procedures were settled. The inaugural general meeting was eventually held on 26 January 1988, which Mignot attended as a founding member of the chamber.
At the time of the chamber’s establishment, there was a general reluctance on the part of European representatives to join the European chamber. However, Mignot was especially supportive, and, under his leadership, Belgium was the first European trade office to join the chamber in 1989. Thanks to his initial support and persuasion, other trade offices later joined the chamber. He continued to remain active in the chamber for the next 28 years.
Mignot's contributions to diplomacy and foreign affairs were respected and highly regarded. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mignot built solid friendships in Taiwan and was involved in developing Taiwan's relationships with Belgium and Europe.
In 2002, he started pushing for the establishment of a European Economic and Trade Office in Taipei, which then opened in March 2003.
Mignot's efforts also led to the signing of the Taiwan-Belgium Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in October 2004.
MOFA noted that 2006 was an eventful year for Mignot as he retired, got married to his Taiwanese wife, and was conferred with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon by then President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
In 2009, when Luxembourg decided to open its first trade and investment office in Taiwan, Mignot came out of retirement after being appointed to head the office, which he did until 2016.
After stepping down from the position, Mignot later became a naturalized Taiwanese citizen in December 2019.