2024 Europe Day Dinner celebrates 30 years of government exchanges

13 June, 2024

“Taiwan-European Union (EU) relations are at an all-time high”, according to President Lai Ching-te. “The ECCT has played a crucial role in enhancing Taiwan’s internationalisation and providing the expertise and investments that have made this possible,” according to ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo. These were some of the highlights from speeches made at the ECCT’s annual Europe Day Dinner. Read the full event report.



It was the first Europe Day Dinner attended by ROC President Lai Ching-te since his inauguration as president on 20 May. The theme of this year’s dinner marked 30 years of advocacy and exchanges between the ECCT and the Taiwan government following the publication in 1994 of the ECCT’s first position papers. In his speech at the dinner, ECCT chairman Giuseppe Izzo said that the ECCT’s exchanges with the government have not just been about promoting European business interests but about opening up Taiwan to the world and actively advancing Taiwan’s progress.


In addition to speeches by Chairman Izzo and President Lai, a speech was also delivered by Filip Grzegorzewski, Head of the European Union’s (EU) European Economic and Trade Office (EETO). The event was attended by over 800 guests, including a dozen cabinet ministers and close to 100 other senior government officials, as well as executives from European and Taiwanese multinational corporations. The annual dinner is held to celebrate Europe Day, the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration in 1950, which ultimately led to the formation of today’s European Union.


In his speech, Chairman Izzo noted the ECCT’s advocacy efforts have always been ambitious. Following the launch of its first position papers in 1994, for most of the 1990s, the ECCT advocated for Taiwan’s entry into the World Trade Organisation. Thanks to the collective efforts of the government, the chamber and other advocates, Taiwan formally entered the WTO in 2002. This achievement led to an opening of numerous local market sectors and a massive increase in trade and investment. Since 2001, Taiwan’s annual international trade has risen four-fold to over US$900 billion while cumulative foreign direct investment has risen by 500%, of which over US$70 billion, or a third, has come from European companies.


In addition to the advocacy work of ECCT committees, the chamber has set up cross-industry platforms to showcase and share the most advanced European and international ESG practices, helping to raise the bar for all enterprises in Taiwan. The chairman stressed that these efforts demonstrate the chamber’s willingness to go beyond business interests and work together with the government and social groups to tackle difficult challenges facing Taiwan. “These issues matter to us because Taiwan is our home,” he said. “While we represent European companies, we are registered as local entities. We pay the same tax rates as Taiwanese companies. 99% of our employees are ROC citizens. We live here and raise our children here. Every time we meet government and business leaders, from, in and beyond Europe, we champion Taiwan’s many virtues and achievements. In summary, we contribute to Taiwan’s development and act as true ambassadors of Taiwan.”


Chairman Izzo noted that many of the new government’s policy goals align with those of the chamber and urged the new administration to work together with business to realise them. This, he said, will require engaging in meaningful dialogue. He also stressed the need for a constant process of reflection and re-evaluation to make sure that the right priorities have been set and are followed. 

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